NEW DELHI: Indicating that the announcement for 2019 Lok Sabha elections may be done in the first week of March and that the elections may be held in April and May, the Election Commission on Monday has written to the chief secretaries and chief electoral officers of all states and Union Territories regarding the transfer and posting of officers who who are associated with conducting the elections.
The Commission has also written to the authorities concerned in Andhra Pradesh, Arunachal Pradesh and Odisha and Sikkim, where state assembly elections are due this year.
The term of the present Lok Sabha ends on June 3.
The Commission has been following a consistent policy that officers directly connected with the conduct of elections in an election going State/UT are not posted in their home districts or places where they have served for the considerably long period, the poll body said in the letter.
The Commission added that it has decided that no officer connected directly with elections shall be allowed to continue in the present district of posting, that if she or he is posted in her or his home district and if she or he has completed three years in that district during last four years or would be completing three years on or before May 31, 2019.
While implementing the above said instructions/transferring officers, the concerned departments of the State Govt. should take care that they are not posted in their home districts.
It shall also be ensured that no DEO/RO/ARO/ Police inspectors/Sub-inspector or above is posted back or allowed to continue in the AC /district where he or she was posted during the General, bye elections held in the Assembly prior to May 31, 2017, the poll body added.
The Commission has directed that transfers and postings of all officers covered under the instructions given by the poll body shall be done by February 28, and compliance reports with details of action obtained from the concerned departments, offices of State Government furnished to the Commission by first week of March, 2019.
The Commission pointed out that 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 Commission said.
The poll body said that the police officials who are posted in functional departments like computerisation, special branch, training, etc. are not covered under these instructions.
It also said that the police sub-inspectors and above should not be posted in their home district.
If a police sub-Inspector has completed or would be completing a tenure of 3 years out of four years on or before the cutoff date in a police sub-division, then he should be transferred out to a police sub-division which does not fall in the same AC.
If that is not possible due to small size of district, then he/she should be transferred out of the district?, the Commission said.
In its communique the commission said that the transfer policy is normally not applicable to officers, officials who are not directly connected with elections like doctors, engineers, teachers/principals and added that if there are specific complaints of political bias or prejudice against any such Govt. officer, 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 officer.
The officers appointed as sector officer/zonal Magistrate involved in election duties are not covered under these instructions?, they said.
However, the poll body added that 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.
These instructions do not apply to the officers posted in the State headquarters of the department concerned, the poll body said.
The Commission further said that no officer, official, against whom a criminal case is pending in any court of law, be associated with/deployed on election related duty.
In 2004, the Commission had announced the poll schedule on March 5 and the nine-face election was held in April and May. (agencies)