Teachers outsource BBMP poll duty

Could face suspension; eye-witness says money was paid to substitutes

If the teachers are unable to provide “genuine” reasons for their action, they face suspension from service and even have criminal charges filed against them.

Sharmishta Dutta (Sociology), Nanda (Maths), B N Geetha (Economics) and  Bhojamma (Physical Education), lecturers at Maharani Lakshmi Ammani College have reportedly got their names replaced by four others, expressing their inability to carry out polling duty due to “domestic reasons.”

The replacement on the duty roster was done last Sunday at a classroom in Ramnarayan Chellaram College on Race Course Road by an election official, according to an eyewitness employed in a senior position at a leading MNC. “I saw money being passed,” he claimed.

The eyewitness and his colleagues while visiting a pub on MG Road a week ago on March 19 happened to overhear a conversation at an adjoining table.

“There was a discussion between two teachers and a couple of men, who were to replace them late at night. Something like Rs 2,000 was fixed as the amount for each replacement,” the eyewitness said. He began keeping track of the matter since then.

According to Deputy Commissioner (Urban) M K Aiyappa, one of the District Electoral Officers (DEOs) for the polls, substitution is permitted if the deputed individual has a genuine reason or meets with some accident which renders him or her incapable of performing physical tasks.

Notice served

“However, in all cases, the DEO, who served a notice upon the official to report for election duty has to be informed well in advance. This is to ensure there is enough time for the DEO to summon to duty the replacement candidate.” No lower ranked official has these powers, he stressed. Aiyappa said that if the teachers had tried to avoid election duty without genuine reasons, they could be suspended or even face criminal charges under Section 134, 1 (1) of the Representation of People Act. Kunjappa, DEO, Bangalore Central, conceded that Raghu N (for Sharmishta Dutta),  Anil Kumar G N (B N Geetha) Kiran kumar (Bhojamma) were the replacements. Nanda has also been replaced but name is not known. The DEO acknowledged he had not approved the same.

“I checked with the Returning Officer and he told me he had not approved it but some subordinate officer may have done it.”

He said the four replacements would not be deputed for duty butwould be retained as reserves for Sunday’s polling. An inquiry will be ordered against the teachers to identify the reasons behind refrainment from duty.

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