Despite Chief Minister’s objection, advertisement for new SEC appointment floated in Puducherry

A file photograph of Puducherry Lieutenant Governor Kiran Bedi and Chief Minister V. Narayanasamy

A file photograph of Puducherry Lieutenant Governor Kiran Bedi and Chief Minister V. Narayanasamy   | Photo Credit: S. S. KUMAR

The Local Administration Department on Tuesday floated the advertisement for a State Election Commissioner

Ignoring an order issued by Chief Minister V. Narayanasamy, the Local Administration Department (LAD) on Tuesday floated an advertisement inviting application for the post of State Election Commissioner.

The Chief Minister, two days ago, had quashed the direction of Lieutenant Governor Kiran Bedi to Chief Secretary Ashwani Kumar to initiate the process to appoint a new SEC.

As per the criteria mentioned in the advertisement, persons who have served under the Central Government, State Governments or Union Territories for not less than 25 years, having knowledge and experience in conducting elections, can apply for the post. The advertisement was floated by Under Secretary, LAD, Giddi Balaram.

In his order the Chief Minister declared as “illegal” and “null and void” the order of Ms. Bedi annulling the appointment of T. M Balakrishnan as SEC in July last year, following an Assembly resolution. The government made Mr. Balakrishnan the SEC after Speaker V. P Sivakolandhu gave a ruling bestowing the power to appoint the poll officer with the elected government.

The Speaker, while giving his ruling, had also cancelled a similar advertisement floated allegedly at the behest of Ms. Bedi for the SEC post. Taking objection to the appointment, the Lt Governor had referred the issue to the Union Ministry of Home Affairs which in turn last month directed the Chief Secretary to start afresh the process to appoint SEC.

According to a government source, the latest advertisement was “counter” to the Assembly decision giving the power to the Cabinet to appoint the SEC. “The advertisement was published clearly under the instruction of Ms. Bedi. The move is to appoint an officer close to Ms Bedi. We will challenge it legally and through powers vested with the Legislative Assembly,” the source said. A decision willould be taken after Mr Narayanamy returns after his day’s visit to Yanam on Tuesday evening, the source said.

In the past too, the SEC has been appointed on the recommendations of the cabinet in the UT and for that matter in all the States. “Calling applications for appointing an SEC is unheard of. The new advertisement comes at a time when Mr. Balakrishnan’s name is published in the gazette. He has already started the preliminary work for the local body polls,” the source said.

The SEC had notified the post of district election officers, regional electoral officers and electoral registration officers. He had also directed the LAD to bring necessary amendments into the Panchayat and Municipality Acts to provide concessions for the deposits of candidates belonging to Backward Classes and Scheduled Tribes, following the government decision to provide reservation for both the communities in the civic body elections.

A notification was also issued making corrections in the name of wards following the delimitation exercise. He had also invited the Electronic Corporation of India to conduct first-level checking of the Electronic Voting Machines, the source added.

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Printable version | Jul 7, 2020 2:27:27 AM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/cities/puducherry/despite-chief-ministers-objection-advertisement-for-new-sec-appointment-floated-in-puducherry/article30501424.ece

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