Gearing up for elections in five states in the coming months, the EC has reminded these states not to assign any poll-related duty to officials who have been charged for any lapse in any election in the past.
In an advisory to the chief secretaries of Assam, Kerala, West Bengal, Tamil Nadu and Puducherry, the Election Commission (EC) has also said that officers against whom it had recommended disciplinary action in past and which is pending or has resulted in a penalty should also not be deployed for poll-related work.
The advisory, sent last month, said any officer, who is due to retire within the coming six months, should not be associated with any election-related duty.
The terms of the legislative assemblies of West Bengal, Tamil Nadu, Assam, Kerala and Puducherry are coming to an end on different dates in May and June this year. Assembly elections are likely to take place sometime in April-May.
The poll watchdog also asked these states to ensure that officers directly connected with the conduct of elections are not posted in their home districts and those who have spent three years in a district in the last four years.
It is usual for the poll panel to issue such directions ahead of Lok Sabha or assembly polls to ensure that officials do not interfere in the election process in any way and the exercise remains free and fair.
“To ensure free and fair election, the Commission has been following a consistent policy to the effect that officers directly connected with conduct of elections in an election going state/UT are not posted in their home districts or places where they have served for considerably long period,” the advisory said.