General Elections/Bye-elections – Guidelines for the conduct of Government servants

General Elections/Bye-elections – Guidelines for the conduct of Government servants

GUIDELINES FOR GOVT. PERSONNEL REGARDING CONDUCT OF ELECTIONS

Guidelines for the Conducts of Govt. Servants (dt. 06.11.1984).

Election Commission’s Letter No. 62/84, dated 6th November, 1984 to Chief Secretaries to State/Union Territories, all Chief Electoral Officers and Ministries of Home Affairs and Law and Justice.

Subject:- General Elections/Bye-elections – Guidelines for the conduct of Government servants.

I am directed to invite your attention to sections 129 and 134 of the Representation of the People Act, 1951, relating to the conduct of Government servants during elections and to say that the Government of India as well as the State Government have been, before conduct of a general election, issuing instructions regarding the conduct of Government servants in relations to an election, stressing that all the Government employees should maintain an attitude of strict impartiality.

2. The Government employees should not only be impartial but should also appear to be so in relation to the elections. They are required to conduct themselves in such a manner as to inspire confidence in the public in regard to their impartiality so that there might not be any occasion for the people to think that the elections would not be held in a free, fair and pure atmosphere. It should be stressed that they should avoid giving room for any suspicion that they are favoring any party or any candidate. They are not expected to take part in any election campaign or canvassing and should take scrupulous care not to lend their names, official position or authority to assist one individual as against another or one group as against another.

3. With particular reference to the tours that the Ministers might undertake on the eve of the elections, it is necessary that while Government Officers should make all the usual arrangements to enable the Ministers to carry out their responsibilities as Ministers, the Government Officers should not themselves organise any election meetings or be present in person during any such meetings except those who may have to be present to the extent necessary for maintaining law and order and making necessary security arrangements.

The question as to whether a public meeting addressed by a Minister is officially sponsored or is held for election propaganda has to be decided by the Minister himself. In the meeting, the arrangement for organising it is to be made on the Minister’s behalf unofficially and the expenditure in that connection is to be borne by him or his party.

It is further made clear that a public meeting held on the eve of an election is normally to be considered to be an election meeting and the expenses thereof are not to be borne from public funds. The preservation of law and order at every meeting will, however, be the responsibility of the Government officials responsible for law and order.

4. In this connection I am also to enclose a copy of the Ministry of Home Affairs’ O.M. No. 25/44/49-Ests, dated 10th October 1949, which clarifies the position regarding the participation of Government servants in political activities vis-a-vis the attendance by Government servants at political meetings, for your information. The contents of the said O.M. may also be brought to the notice of all Government servants for their guidance.

5. In the matter of election meetings in a public place, the Government officers should not make any distinction between one political party and another in granting permission to hold such meetings. If more parties than one apply for holding a meeting at any place on the same day and at the same hour, the party which applies first should be given preference.

6. Further your attention is specially invited to the provisions of section 134-A of the Representation of the People Act, 1951, which reads as follows :-

134-A Penalty for Government Servants for acting as Election Agent, Polling Agent or Counting Agent :

If any person in the service of the Government acts as an election agent or a polling agent or a counting agent of a candidate at an election he shall be punishable with imprisonment for a term which may extend to three months with fine, or with both.”

7. In this connection, I am also to forward herewith an extract of rule 5 of the Central Civil Service (Conduct) Rule, 1964, which inter alia prohibits the Government servants from taking part in politics and elections. It is presumed that similar provisions exist in the rules governing the conduct of Government servants of your State.

8. I am, therefore, to request that necessary instructions in the above regard may kindly be issued by the State Governments emphasising upon the Government servants that any disregard of instructions would be considered by the Government as a serious act of indiscipline and that in cases of doubt a Government servant should not hesitate to consult his superior officer.

9. A copy of the instructions issued by the State Government may be forwarded for the Commission’s record.

The receipt of this letter may please be acknowledged.

[The Commission’s letter No. 62/79, dated the 13th November 1979 is hereby superseded.]

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