GHMC Act defied in naming poll staff

Officials on election duty stick a poster at a polling station. File photo   | Photo Credit: Mohammed Yousuf

GHMC Commissioner’s authority over the employees of Central government institutions in terms of commissioning their services for the conduct of civic polls remains shrouded in ambiguity, even as several such employees appointed as presiding officers and polling officers have attended training classes.

Election duty orders have been issued in the name of GHMC Commissioner D.S. Lokesh Kumar, who is also designated Election Authority by the State Election Commission, to employees of several Central government organisations, including research institutions. Apart from teachers of Kendriya Vidyalayas, several scientists from research institutions, some of who are in directorial and secretarial positions, are in receipt of the orders, to their utter bemusement.

According to reliable sources, even scientists in the grades ‘A’ and ‘B’ from the defence research organisations and atomic energy facilities have not been spared of the election duty, which severely hampers their operations. Those who have not attended the training classes have been served show cause notices, they informed.

However, the Election Authority’s jurisdiction remains questionable over the Central government employees when it comes to GHMC elections, they point out. “The orders do not contain any reference Act or authority under which the GHMC Commissioner was appointing us for GHMC elections, which should have been mentioned if the signing authority is not our superior under the departmental flow chart,” shared a scientist.

Clarity in Act

Greater Hyderabad Municipal Corporation Act, 1955, which speaks about the conduct of the corporation elections, specifically mentions that the State government should deploy State government and corporation employees for the purpose. The Act, in its Section 10, enjoins the State government to provide the State Election Commission with such staff as may be necessary for the elections. “On the request of the State Election Commission, the State Government shall place at the disposal of the Commission such staff of the State Government and the Municipal Corporations for the purpose of conduct of elections under this Act,” says sub-section 4.

For the purpose of elections the SEC may delegate his powers to such officers as he may deem necessary, which in this instance, is the GHMC Commissioner. “Since the Central government departments are unaware of these facts, the Commissioner is taking advantage and threatening us to attend duties. We are under the impression that since State government employees are against the ruling party at the Centre, the latter wants to use Central manpower, and the Commissioner is acting to suit their interest,” an employee alleges.

‘No limiting provision’

Sought for his version, Mr.Lokesh Kumar responded in a single sentence, saying there is no such ‘limiting’ provision.

He refrained from answering under which provision the orders were issued.

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Printable version | Jan 19, 2021 6:09:32 AM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/cities/Hyderabad/ghmc-act-defied-in-naming-poll-staff/article33202748.ece

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