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  India   All India  19 Mar 2024  EC removes home secys for ‘dual posts’

EC removes home secys for ‘dual posts’

THE ASIAN AGE WITH AGENCY INPUTS
Published : Mar 19, 2024, 1:30 am IST
Updated : Mar 19, 2024, 1:30 am IST

EC orders reshuffle of officers ahead of polls

 The EC also ordered the removal of the West Bengal director-general and inspector-general of police, Mr Rajeev Kumar, with immediate effect. (ANI)
  The EC also ordered the removal of the West Bengal director-general and inspector-general of police, Mr Rajeev Kumar, with immediate effect. (ANI)

New Delhi: In a sweeping move, the Election Commission on Monday ordered the removal of the home secretaries of Gujarat, Uttar Pradesh, Bihar, Jharkhand, Himachal Pradesh and Uttarakhand, since they were holding additional posts in the chief ministers’ office in their respective states and can potentially influence neutrality in matters like deployment of forces. The EC also ordered the removal of the West Bengal director-general and inspector-general of police, Mr Rajeev Kumar, with immediate effect.

The move comes after the EC, comprising chief election commissioner Rajiv Kumar and election commissioners Gyanesh Kumar and Sukhbir Singh Sandhu held a meeting on Monday to check poll arrangements in the states.

In its letter to the chief secretary of West Bengal, the EC said Mr Rajeev Kumar should be shifted to a “non-election” related assignment with immediate effect. As an interim arrangement, the charge of Mr Kumar should be given to the next senior officer in the police headquarters till posting of a new DGP and IGP. The EC has asked the CS to send a panel of three officers by Monday evening on who would be posted as the DG-IGP in place of Mr Kumar. The West Bengal government announced that Mr Vivek Sahay would be the new DGP.

Mr Kumar was removed earlier too from active election management-related duty during the 2016 Assembly election in the state and in the 2019 Lok Sabha elections, the sources said.

The EC ordered the removal of the home secretaries of Gujarat, Uttar Pradesh, Bihar, Jharkhand, Himachal Pradesh and Uttarakhand. Sources said the home secretaries of these six states were removed as they were found to be holding dual charge in the offices of the chief minister in these states. This may potentially compromise or be seen to compromise the impartiality and neutrality required during the electoral process, especially in matters relating to law and order and the deployment of forces, they noted.

The secretary of the general administrative departments of Mizoram and Himachal Pradesh also have been removed.

The poll panel also ordered the removal of Brihanmumbai Municipal Commissioner Iqbal Singh Chahal, and additional commissioners and deputy commissioners. It is learnt that Maharashtra had not complied with the directions of transferring such officers in respect of a few municipal commissioners and some additional and deputy municipal commissioners. While conveying displeasure to the state chief secretary, the commission directed the transfer of the BMC commissioner and the additional and deputy commissioners, with the direction to report by 6 pm on Monday. The chief secretary was also directed to transfer all the similarly-placed municipal commissioners and additional or deputy municipal commissioners of other corporations in Maharashtra.

The poll panel usually takes such action during the Lok Sabha and the Assembly polls when an issue of conflict of interest or possibility of such officials disturbing a level-playing field for all comes up. Ahead of the elections, the EC always directs states to transfer officers connected with election-related work who have completed three years or are in their home districts. If such officers are not transferred by the states, the EC itself orders their removal.

Tags: new delhi, election commission, rajeev kumar, gujarat, national news, lok sabha polls
Location: India, Delhi