Election Commission moves HC in IAS officer Mohsin’s case

‘Interim order will have pan-India impact as officers may not take instructions seriously’

The Election Commission of India (ECI) on Thursday moved the Karnataka High Court challenging the Central Administrative Tribunal’s interim order of status quo on ECI’s April 25 direction asking the State government to hold disciplinary proceedings against IAS officer Mohammed Mohsin for an alleged misconduct before he was debarred from the responsibility as general election observer (GEO) for a Parliamentary constituency in Odisha.

A Division Bench ordered notices to Mr. Mohsin, the State and Central governments, and others.

The ECI on April 16 had initially suspended Mr. Mohsin for allegedly violating instructions related to SPG (Special Protection Group) protectees by ordering videographing and searching of Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s helicopters in Sambalpur of Odisha on April 16. Later, the ECI removed Mr. Mohsin from election duty while asking the State to initiate disciplinary proceedings.

“The tribunal has failed to appreciate that Mr. Mohsin [as a GEO] without authority has directed the Executive Magistrate [of Sambalpur] to check the helicopter of the Prime Minister, who is SPG protectee. Mr. Mohsin clearly transgressed his authority and he violated the instructions of Commission, ” it has been contended in the ECI’s petition while contending that tribunal’s order is contrary to the law.

“The direction for maintaining status quo virtually amounts to staying the order recommending initiation of disciplinary action against Mr. Mohsin and it has a pan-India effect during the election period as other officers on election duty will not take the instructions of the Commission seriously,” the ECI claimed.

Referring to Mr. Mohsin’s claim before the tribunal that he was not heard before action was taken against him, the ECI contended that “there is no stigma attached to him merely because he was kept under suspension or due to recommendation of initiation of disciplinary proceedings as principles of natural justice need not be observed during this stage, that is recommendation for initiation of an inquiry” based on a report of a Deputy Election Commissioner.

Mr. Mohsin’s claim is that he has not violated the ECI’s instruction on SPG protectees and he had not instructed the officers to check the helicopters. However, other officers had given a statement that it was Mr. Mohsin who had instructed them to check the helicopters and videograph the process.

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Printable version | May 30, 2020 9:07:06 PM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/national/karnataka/election-commission-moves-hc-in-ias-officer-mohsins-case/article27153602.ece

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