Mrunal Manmay Dash

Taking serious cognisance of the cases where officers are being transferred to adjacent districts within the same Parliamentary Constituency by the state governments, the Election Commission of India (ECI) has strengthened its existing transfer policy.

The ECI has asked the State governments including Odisha to ensure that officials are not able to disturb the level playing field in the elections.

Plugging the loopholes in the existing instructions, the Commission has directed that, except for the States/UTs that comprise up to two Parliamentary Constituencies, all States should ensure that officers who are transferred out of the district are not posted within the same Parliamentary Constituency.

As per ECI Policy, all the officers who were either posted in their home district or have completed three years at a place have been directed to be transferred. This includes officers who are in any way connected to the election work either directly or in supervisory capacity.

The ECI reiterated that the transfer policy of the Commission must be adhered to in both letter and spirit and not just camouflaged to show compliance. This rule applies retrospectively to transfers and postings that have already been implemented in accordance with the Commission's prior instructions.

It is pertinent to mention here that the Odisha government appointed Rajesh Pravakar Patil as the new Commissioner at the Bhubaneswar Municipal Corporation (BMC) on Saturday. He replaced incumbent Vijay Amruta Kulange.