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EC protects officials, says authorization must be obtained to initiate disciplinary action | India News


NEW DELHI: Desiring to protect the Election Directors (CEOs) of the Union’s states and territories from “motivated harassment” derived from political revenge for acting freely, fairly, impartially and without fear during the elections, the Commission Electoral said on Friday that any disciplinary action against officials would require authorization.
An EC order said states and TUs should “invariably” obtain their approval before initiating any disciplinary action against CEOs and senior officials during their tenure and also for up to one year after they have completed their terms.
The EC has relied on the order of the Supreme Court of September 21, 2000, stating that neither a state government can initiate any action against the officers at the polling stations nor can the government refuse to act on the advice of the EC to act against errant officials, and a subsequent DoPT order in accordance with this position.
The EC, in a communication to the Cabinet Secretary, the Chief State Secretaries, the Secretary of Personnel, and the State Executive Directors also directed that the State and UT governments not reduce facilities such as vehicles, security and other amenities that are provided to the office of the CEO for the proper performance of their duties. / their duties.
Although the EC did not specify that it was issuing the order by virtue of its powers under Article 324 (power to direct and control elections), it did state that “the commission is optimistic in the expectation that all stakeholders will adhere strictly to this regime both in letter and in spirit ”.
“Yes, there have been cases of victimization of CEOs in the past. The EC initiative for their protection is timely and appropriate advice, ”former CCA N Gopalaswami told TOI. Appreciating the move, former CCA SNA Zaidi said it would give CEOs stability in office and allow them to carry out their duties freely and fairly.
The EC leadership comes in the wake of cases of “victimization” of CEOs, including one in 2019 in which Andhra Pradesh CM N Chandrababu Naidu broke into the office of state CEO GK Dwivedi during Lok Sabha polls, allegedly abused and pressured to order high-level transfers. IAS and IPS officers. Dwivedi kept a stoic silence and stood his ground without being provoked. He was subsequently rewarded by the EC on National Voters’ Day.
The EC recalled how CEOs were attacked “many times” by slapping disciplinary cases on flimsy grounds for previous occupations in a state government after completing their term in the EC. “These officers are not only unmotivated, but their morale is also greatly reduced, which seriously affects their efforts to guarantee free and fair elections,” the EC said.

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