Hours after it transferred IAS officer and Hassan Deputy Commissioner Rohini Sindhuri, the government came under the gaze of the Chief Electoral Officer (CEO), who directed the government to "put on hold" the transfer orders with immediate effect.
In a strongly worded letter, CEO Sanjiv Kumar reminded the ruling party that it cannot transfer deputy commissioners on election duty without the concurrence of the Election Commission of India (ECI).
Deputy commissioners in the state, at present, are involved in electoral roll revision activities ahead of the Assembly polls.
The government on Monday transferred seven IAS officers, three of whom were deputy commissioners of districts, including Sindhuri.
Sindhuri's transfer took a political colour with the JD(S) attacking the government for shunting the officer as she created "hurdles" for Hassan district-in-charge minister A Manju.
Her transfer also comes just a week ahead of the Mahamastabhisheka in Shravanabelagola in Hassan district and has sparked protests in various parts of the state.
Sindhuri on Monday was transferred and posted as managing director, Karnataka Industrial and Infrastructure Development Corporation Ltd (KSIIDC).
In his letter to Chief Secretary Ratna Prabha, CEO Sanjiv Kumar on Tuesday said the government, despite repeated reminders, had continued to ignore the ECI rules.
Kumar told DH that the government had communicated to him that it had acknowledged the letter.
"I have not received anything in writing. But I had a discussion with the chief secretary. She said that the government will abide by the ECI's instructions. The ECI is serious. All instructions must be followed."
He said that his office had taken cognizance of the matter after it received information on the transfers from various sources, including the media. The government has now sought concurrence for the transfers.
Citing Section 13CC of the Representation of People Act, 1950, the CEO has said that all officers involved in roll revision work were on deputation with the ECI, until the final electoral roll is published on February 28.
Till the ECI gives its concurrence, the deputy commissioners have been advised not to leave their headquarters and hand over charge.