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SEC censures two IAS officers A.P. govt. objects

Topics Covered: Appointment to various Constitutional posts, powers, functions and responsibilities of various Constitutional Bodies.

SEC censures two IAS officers, A.P. govt. objects:


Context:

The Andhra Pradesh government has “objected” to the censure notices issued by State Election Commissioner N. Ramesh Kumar to two senior IAS officials over preparations for the local body elections.

What’s the issue?

  • The State Election Commissioner had censured Panchayat Raj Principal Secretary Gopal Krishna Dwivedi and PR Commissioner M Girija Shankar for their ‘failure’ to publish 2021 electoral rolls.
  • In the censure proceedings, Ramesh Kumar recommended compulsory retirement of the two IAS officers.

What has the state government said?

The State government has argued that this power is not in the domain of state election commissioner.

As per the guidelines, Election Commission is empowered to suspend:

  • Any officer or police personnel working under the Central government or public sector undertaking or an autonomous body fully or partially funded by the government for insubordination or dereliction of duty, besides making recommendations to the competent authority for taking disciplinary action, while engaged in preparation of electoral rolls or election duty.

However, censure is a penalty classified under minor penalties and the State government is the competent authority to impose the said penalty on a member of service serving with the affairs of the State and it has to be imposed by following the procedure laid down under Rule 10 of the AIS (D&A) Rules, 1969.

InstaLinks:

Prelims Link:

  1. Article 243 vs 324, similarities and differences in powers of state election commissions vs Election Commission of India.
  2. Appeals against decisions of Election Commissions.
  3. Elections to Parliament and state legislatures vs Local Bodies.
  4. Powers of State Election Commissioner.

Mains Link:

Are the State Election Commissions in India as independent as the Election Commission of India? Discuss.

Sources: the Hindu.