TODAY -

ECI issues guidelines on transfer of officials
Source: Chronicle News Service

Imphal, October 14 2021: As five states - Manipur, Goa, Punjab, Uttarakhand and Uttar Pradesh - are gearing up for the legislative assembly elections early next year, Election Commission of India (ECI) has issued instructions to chief secretaries and chief electoral officers of these five states, stating that no officer connected directly with elections shall be allowed to continue in the present district of posting if they are posted in their home districts.

In a letter written to the chief secretaries and chief electoral officers of the five poll-bound states, ECI senior principal secretary Narendra N Butolia informed that officers who have completed three years of posting in the respective district during last four years or would be completing three years on or before March 31, 2022 in case of Goa, Manipur, Punjab and Uttarakhand; and May 31, 2022 in case of Uttar Pradesh would also be not allowed to continue in the same district.

While calculating the period of three years, promotion to a post within the district will be counted, the letter stated.

It further said that if any small state/UT with a few number of districts, face any difficulty in compliance of the instruction, then it may refer the specific case with reasons to the Commission through CEO for exemption and the Commission would issue directions, if considered necessary.

These instructions shall cover not only officers appointed for specific election duties like DEOs, Dy DEOs, RO/AROs, EROs/AEROs, officers appointed as nodal officers of any specific election works but also district officers like ADMs, SDMs, Dy Collector/Joint Collector, Tehsildar, Block Development Officers or any other officer of equal rank directly deployed for election works.

These instructions shall also be applicable to the police department officers such as Range IGs, DIGs, Commandants of State Armed Police, SSPs, SPs, Addl.

SPs, Sub-Divisional Head of Police, SHOs, Inspectors, Sub-Inspector, RIs/Sergeant Majors or equivalent ranks, who are responsible for security arrangement or deployment of police forces in the district at election time.

The police officials, who are posted in functional departments like computerisation, special branch and training, among others are not covered under these instructions, the letter said.

Regarding the categories of officers not covered under transfer policy, the letter said that during an election, a large number of employees are drafted for different types of election duty and the Commission has no intention of massive dislocation of state machinery by large scale transfers.

As such, the transfer policy is normally not applicable to officers posted in the state headquarters of the department concerned; officers/officials who are not directly connected with elections like doctors, engineers, teachers/principals.

However, if there are specific complaints of political bias or prejudice against any such government official, which on enquiry, are found to be substantiated, then CEO/ECI may order not only the transfer of such official but also appropriate departmental action against the said official, the letter said.

Officers appointed as Sector Officer/Zonal Magistrate involved in election duties are not covered under these instructions.

However, the observers, CEO/DEOs and ROs should keep a close watch on their conduct to ensure that they are fair and non-partisan in the performance of their duties, it added.

The letter further said that officials against whom the Commission had recommend ed disciplinary action in past and which is pending or which has resulted in a penalty or the officers who have been charged for any lapse in any election or election related work in the past, shall not be assigned any election related duty.

However, an officer who was transferred during any past election under the Commission's order without any recommendation of disciplinary actions will not be, just on this ground, considered for transfer, unless specifically so directed by the Commission, the statement said and added that a copy of the Commission's instruction number 464/INST72008-EPS dated 23rd December 2008 regarding tracking of names of tainted officers is enclosed and CEOs must ensure its compliance.

No official, against whom a criminal case is pending in any court of law, be associated with/deployed on election related duty.

Any officer, who is due to retire within the coming six months, will be exempted from the purview of the Commission's directions.

Further, officer falling in the category, if holding an election related post mentioned, shall be relieved of that charge and not be associated with any election related duty.

It is however, reiterated that such retiring officer need not be transferred out of the district.

All the officials of the state, except those posted in the office of the Chief Electoral Officer, who are on extension of service or re-employed in different capacities, will not be associated with any election related work.

The transfer orders in respect of officers/officials, who are engaged in the electoral rolls revision work; if any, during an election year shall be implemented only after final publication of the electoral rolls, in consultation with the Chief Electoral Officer concerned.

In case of any need for transfer due to any extra ordinary reasons, prior approval of the Commission shall be taken.

The Chief Electoral Officer of the State/UT shall invariably be consulted while posting the persons in place of present incumbents who stand transferred as per the policy of the Commission.

A copy of each of the transfer orders issued under these directions shall be given to the Chief Electoral Officer without fail.

All election related officers will be required to give a declaration in the format given by the Commission to the DEO concerned, who shall inform to CEO accordingly.

The Commission's instructions shall be brought to the notice of the departments/offices concerned or state government for their strict compliance.

The DEO or district officers concerned shall ensure that officers/officials who are transferred should immediately handover their charge without waiting for their substitute.

The Commission has further directed that transfer/posting of all officers covered under the instructions shall be done and compliance reports by Chief Secretary and DGP with details of action obtained from the concerned departments/offices of state government shall be furnished to the Commission by December 31, 2021 .


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