Procedure to decide applicationsfor exemption from poll duty

Deputy Commissioner Y.S. Patil  

Many officials seem to be reluctant to go on election duty. Therefore, they often cite medical grounds to get exemption from poll duty. And, now, the district administration has decided to curb this practice of officials using health grounds as a reason to get exemption from poll duty.

“The Election Commission seeks to put in place a system for officials, who want themselves to be exempted from poll duty on health grounds, to go through a proper procedure before their applications are accepted,” said Deputy Commissioner Y.S. Patil.

Speaking to The Hindu, he said that the district administration has decided to set up a medical board consisting of the District Surgeon, the District Health Officer and a senior doctor to look into the medical problems of officials designated for poll duty.

He said that many complaints are being received stating that several officials are obtaining permission to stay away from poll duty on flimsy health grounds.

“Often, some of them come up with problems such as diabetes and blood pressure which have become so common these days. Our point is that when you can do all your routine office work with diabetes and blood pressure, you should also be able to do election duty,” he said.

Mr. Patil said that the head of the department has been given authority to take a decision when an application is received from an official seeking exemption from poll duty.

“If prima facie, the head of the department finds the official is fit to do election duty, then the application could be rejected there itself saving the medical board’s time. However, if the head of the department feels that a medical assessment is necessary, the application is then sent to the medical board for examination. The report of the medical board will be treated as final for accepting or rejecting the application,” he said. He believes that with such an effective system in place, officials who were earlier seeking exemption for themselves from poll duty using flimsy health grounds will no longer be able to do that.

Mr. Patil, however, made it clear that lactating mothers, pregnant women and officials reaching the age of 59 can exempt themselves from poll duty without any medical assessment.

He said that besides health reasons, the head of the department could decide on exempting officials from poll duty if any of them has a genuine reason such as a wedding or events that require the presence of such officials. “The head of the department can use his discretion in such cases,” Mr. Patil said.

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Printable version | Jan 20, 2021 2:00:40 AM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/national/karnataka/procedure-to-decide-applicationsfor-exemption-from-poll-duty/article26562378.ece

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