Election Model Code of Conduct : Requisition of Staff
Date : 17th January 2017
No.4/56/ELEC/PR/S AE-2017: The Election Commission of India (ECl) vide Press NotesNo.ECttpNtlt2olz & No. ECt/pNt2l2o17 dated 0410112017has announced 2(two) phases of poll Schedule for the General Elections to the 11th Manipur Legislative Assembly and with the announcement of Election Schedule by the Election Commission, the Model Code of Conduct came into effect w.e.f. 4th January, 2017 and applies to the whole of Manipur State and applicable to all candidates, political parties, the State and Union Government as far as Manipur State is concerned.
A. Requisition of Staff for election purpose:
(1). Un-der Section 159 of the Representltion of the People Act, 1951, which deals with iequisitioning of staff for election work, the authorities shall make available to the Reiurning Officers such staff as may be necessary for the performance of any duty in connection with an election, on request made by the Chief Electoral Officer of the State'
(i) every local authoritY;
1ii; every university esiablished or incorporated by or under a Central, Provincial or State Act,
(iii) a Government company as defined in section 617 of the Companies Act, 1956;
(iv) any other institution, concern or undertaking which is established by or under a Ceniral, Provincial or State Act, or which is controlled, or financed wholly or substantially by funds provided, directly or indirectly, by the Central Government or a State Government.
(2) Section 26 of the Representation of People Act, 1951 empowers the District Election Officers to appoint Presiding Officers and Polling Officers for polling stations falling in his district. Further, under section 20A of the Representation of the People Act, 1g51, the District Election Officer is required to coordinate and supervise all work in the District in connection with conduct of elections. Therefore, by convention and for convenience, the District Election Officers have been requisitioning staff for conduct of election under Section 159 of the R. P. Act, 1951 '
(3) Employees of banks, LIC may be drafted on election duty to the minimum extent possible, only in a constituency where sufficient numbers of govt. employees are not available or in emergent circumstances such as strike etc. by the Govt. employees.
Care should be taken to ensure that normal functioning of banks, LIC are not interrupted. Care should further be taken to ensure that minimum numbers of employees of such institutions is requisitioned so that the business of these institutions is not hampered. While requisitioning of the staff for conduct of future elections, their rank, salary etc. should be kept in mind while making appointment and assigning duties to them.
(4). The Commission has decided that iai.tf," officers and staff of following departments will not be requisitioned for deployment of elgction dutY: -
(i) Senior officers of the Indian Forest Service'
(ii) Doctors and compounders working in veterinary hospitals.
(iii) Officers working in Grade - B (Cattle Extension Officer) in veterinary hospitals.
(iv) Medical Practitioners.
(v) Territorial Staff of Forest Department'
(vi) All India Radio.
(b) The operational/technical staff of BSNL, MTNL, UPSC and educational institutions will be requisitioned for election duty only in unavoidable circumstances.
(c) Officei/staff of Commercial Bank located in rural area and if happens to be a single officer branch, need not be deployed.
B. Appointment of Presiding officers and Polling officers:
The appoiniment of presiding Officers and Polling Officers is done by the District Election Officer under the powers vested in him under section 26 of the Representation of the people Act, 1951. lf a polling officer is absent from the polling station, the presiding Offi."r may appoint any person who is present at the polling station other than a fi"rron who has been employed by or on behalf of, or has been otherwise working for, a candidate in or about the election, to be the polling officer during the absende of the former officer, and inform the District Election Officer accordingly. A polling officer shall, if so directed by the Presiding Officer, perform all or any of the functions of a presiding Officer under this Act or any rules or orders made there under.
G. lssue of photo identity card to the polling personnel.
In order to ensure that the identity of all Presiding Officers, polling officers, counting supervisors and counting assistants engaged in election work is clearly established while discharging their duties, the Commission has decided to direct the issue of identity card for tf'em. This identity card shall be issued by the District Election Officer (Dfoj/neturning Officer (R O) The Presiding Officers, polling officers, counting supervisors and counting assistants shall display their identity card on person on the day of poll/counting for easy and quick identification.
D. Welfare Measures for polling personnel:
While preparing the district machinery for the conduct of election, the DEO shall identify a senior officer as the nodal officer to coordinate and supervise polling personnel welfare measures. Similarly, each RO shall identify a nodal officer for the above purpose. The name and designation, office and residential address, telephone numbers including mobile number and e-mail lD, if any, of the nodal officer shall be mentioned in the districVconstituency election management plan. Right from the beginning enough care shall be taken to ensure that the information regarding training programme, dispatch and reception centre arrangement. The Commission has recently issued an instruction to run postal ballot facilitation centers for the benefit of polling staff.
E. Training of polling Personnel:
The date and venue for training of polling personnel shall be decided well in advance' The polling personnel selected for undergoing training through randomization process shouid be informed about the training programme in time through sponsoring authorities.
Before organizing the training programme, DEO shall review the training material, He should have proper power point presentation, printed leaflets etc. so that the training is effectively conducted. The training should be conducted in smaller group so that there is adequate opportunity for interaction and clearing doubts' More emphasis should be given for 'hands on' training rather than classroom lecture mode.
The polling staff shall be encouraged to ask questions and get their doubts clear. Apart from imparting training on the technical and procedural aspect of EVM election, the importance of mock poll and mock poll certificate, use of dummy EVM for explaining the method of voting to the illiterate voters also shall be highlighted. Apart from the statutory and non-statutory reports, the Election Commission has directed the Presiding Officers to submit an additional report in the newly prescribed format for quick tracking of information by the RO and the Observer.
F. Randomization of Polling Personnel.
It has always been endeavor of the Commission to ensure free and fair elections and towards thit end it has issued instructions from time to time on various aspects of election process including formation of polling parties. Accordingly, the Commission lays down the following instructions for formation of polling parties:-
(i) A District Election Officer-wise database, of all eligible poll personnel shall be maintained in electronic format, which can facilitate computerized randomization. All relevant particulars like Name, Sex, Place (constituency) of residence, work place, Home Constituency, Designation, Office and Department/lnstitutions should be entered.
(ii) The database shall contain, distinctly and separately, the State Govt. employees including Public Sector Undertakings, teachers etc. who can be employed as polling personnel.
(iii) Similarly the data base shall distinctly and separately contain all Central Govt. employees including PSU, Bank, etc.
(iv) Separate database shall be prepared of Retired Government of lndia and State dovernment officials as well as of Members of NCC & NSS [and reputed NGOs, if & as approved by the Commissionl. They shall be used in specified manner only with express prior approval of the Commission.
(v) Unless othenvise advised, the polling parties shall be formed out of the State Govt' employees. The Central Govt. employees including PSUs and Banks, etc. shall be utilized for selecting suitable persons as Micro Observers.
(vi) Presiding Officers and Polling Officers shall be classified on the basis of scale of pay and theii post and rank. As far as practicable, Gazetted Officers will be deployed as Presiding Officers and failing that officials who are working in supervisory capacity only should be deployed as Presiding Officers. The Presiding Officer should be of higher scale/grade in comparison to other Polling Officers of that formation.
(vii)Therefore, persons put on polling duties should invariably be voters. Further, no person will be assigned polling duties in an assembly constituency in which he is posted or in which he resides or the constituency, which is his home constituency.
(viii) In order to avoid any allegation of collusion among the polling personnel in favour of any candidate or political party and to instill confidence in the minds of Political Parties and candidates about free and fair elections, proper mix of polling personnel drawn from different offices and departments at the time of formation of a polling party should be ensured. Two officials of the same serial group/category should not be put together. Further, two members of the polling party should not be from the same department (in case of school teachers, they should not be from the same school.
(ix) Polling personnel database should include personnel both from the State Government departments as well as the Central government offices. Central Government employees should be utilized for micro observer duties to be decided by Observers. polling personnel to be posted within the district unless specifically directed otherwise.
Following procedure should be adopted for formation of polling parties:-
(x) Database &loftware should be prepared and developed by the CEO and distributed "rong DEOs. District Election Officers should obtain a complete database of officers eligibl6 for polling party duties from respective authorities. All relevant information should be entere-d'into an electronic database of the computerized randomization application software approved by the CEO for that state.
(xi) From this full database of officers, a list of 120% of the required number of polling p"rronr should be generated (including reserve) randomly, using the software. This is ine first of the thLe-stage randomization process. Presence of observers is not required at this stage. lt should be noted that this randomized list is DEO-wise and not at any other level like subdivision, tehsil, block, assembly constituency etc'
(xii) The second stage of randomization exercise should be done in the presence of ih" Obs"rers deployld in the constituency. At this stage actual polling parties shall be formed on random basis using the randomization software. The Observer must be present at this stage. At this stage though the actual polling station will not be known, ho*"u"r, the Asseribly Constituency and the team composition may be known' This randomization should not take place before 6 or 7 days from the day of poll' For the purpose of serving the appointment letters, the DEO can use the services of the sponsoring depart-ments/ authority and/or organize a training programme of poll personnel- in team. formation on that date when final briefing can be given and appointment letters issued to them. lt will also facilitate Postal Balloting. (xiii) The third stage of randomization exercise shall take place at the time of dispersal of polling farties when the allocation of polling stations lo_the poling parties will be done. frriJ thirO stage randomization for final allocation of Polling Stations to each polling party should alio be done in the presence of Observers. The actual polling station allotted to individual polling personnel is to be disclosed just before the polling party actually leaves the dispersal centre.
(xiv) In order to ensure that above instructions are complied with strictly, the bommission directs that the District Election Officer shall furnish to the Election Commission through the Observers and separately to the Chief Electoral Officer of the State/UT a certificite to the following effect immediately after the polling parties have been formed for an election:-
(l) The polling parties have been formed by a proper mix of officials drawn from different offices and departments, in presence of Observers and
(ll) The officeis have been drawn from the State Government departments as well as from the state Public Undertaking etc, as far aspracticable.
(lll) For the purpose of making polling parties complete data base of all eligible employees in the district has been used."
(Vivek Kumar Dewangan)
Chief Electoral Officer, Manipur
* This Press Release was sent to e-pao.net by DIPR , Manipur who can be contacted at diprmanipur(AT)gmail(DOT)com
This Post is webcasted on January 18 2017
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