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Seeking to plug loopholes, EC tweaks policy on transfer of officers ahead of polls

The move comes after the poll authority took 'serious note' of cases in which officers were being transferred in adjacent districts within the same parliamentary constituency by state governments.
Last Updated 24 February 2024, 09:28 IST

New Delhi: The Election Commission (EC) has asked states to ensure that officers who are transferred out of a district ahead of polls as part of its policy are not posted in any district within the same parliamentary constituency.

By tweaking its policy on transferring officers ahead of elections, the EC has sought to plug loopholes being exploited by state governments.

The move comes after the poll authority took "serious note" of cases in which officers were being transferred in adjacent districts within the same parliamentary constituency by state governments.

According to the policy of the EC, all officers who were either posted in their home district or have completed three years at a place are transferred out ahead of Lok Sabha or assembly polls to ensure they do not disturb the level-playing field in favour of a candidate or a party.

"The commission has strengthened its existing transfer policy to ensure that officials are not able to disturb the level-playing field in the elections," the EC said in a statement on Saturday.

"Plugging the loopholes" in the existing instructions, the commission has directed that, except for states and union territories that comprise up to two parliamentary constituencies, all states shall ensure that officers who are transferred out of the district are not posted within the same parliamentary constituency, the EC said.

The EC under Chief Election Commissioner Rajiv Kumar has told states that the policy "must be adhered to in both letter and spirit and not just being camouflaged to show compliance".

There has been a zero-tolerance policy of the commission against disturbing the level-playing field in the elections, it pointed out.

In the recently-held assembly elections in five states, the commission had ordered transfer of various officials, including top police officials.

Following the EC's directions based on the policy, Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation (BMC) Commissioner I S Chahal and Pune Municipal Corporation (PMC) Commissioner Vikram Kumar are set to be transferred.

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(Published 24 February 2024, 09:28 IST)

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