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EC orders Haryana to shift DGP
Yoginder Gupta
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, April 6
The ruling Indian National Lok Dal (INLD) suffered a setback today when the Election Commission of India ordered the shifting of the Director-General of Police (DGP), Mr M.S. Malik, to a post not connected with the election work in any manner.

Mr Malikís wife, Krishna, is contesting the prestigious Sonepat Lok Sabha seat on the INLD ticket. The sitting BJP MP, Mr Kishan Singh Sangwan, bete noire of the INLD supremo and Chief Minister, Mr Om Prakash Chautala, is also in the fray from this seat. Mr Sangwan was a leading light in the BJP to demand the snapping of the ties with the INLD.

As soon as Mrs Malikís candidature was announced by Mr Chautala, Mr Sangwan demanded the deployment of the paramilitary forces in the constituency as he alleged that the Haryana Police would be used to ensure her victory. Later, a delegation of the BJP met the Election Commission and demanded that Mr Malik should be either transferred or asked to proceed on leave. The Congress and the Haryana Vikas Party also made similar demands.

Taking note of these complaints, the Election Commission had sought the comments of the state government last week. It is believed that the state government had written to the commission that the complaints were premature because the election was yet to be notified. However, the commission seems to have taken a different view.

The commission has also asked the state government to sent a panel of three names of officers out of which one would be approved by the commission for appointment as DGP. There are three DGP-rank officers in the Haryana Police, besides Mr Malik. The senior most DGP is Mr B.R. Lal, Chairman-cum-Managing Director of the Police Housing Corporation, followed by Mr Nirmal Singh, D.G., Rules, and Mr A.S. Bhatotia, Director-General, Prisons. The retirement of Mr Lal, a thoroughly professional police officer, is, however, due in the middle of this year.

The state government, which did not implement the commissionís orders today, may be in a tight spot tomorrow when the commission will visit Chandigarh to review the election arrangements in Punjab, Haryana and the Union Territory of Chandigarh. The commission is also scheduled to meet the Chief Secretaries of the two states, besides the D.C.s, S.P.s and political parties.

Informed sources say the government may explore the possibility of judicial intervention to thwart the commissionís orders. Earlier, when the commission had ordered the removal of the hoardings a public interest litigation was filed in the Punjab and Haryana High Court against the commissionís directive. Though the court issued notices to the respondents, it refused to stay the order. The sources say either the government itself may move the court or someone may file a public interest litigation in private capacity to bail out the government.

The legal opinion is divided over the issue whether the Election Commission has to go through the state government to transfer an officer from his post. One view is that since under the election laws once the poll process starts, the entire administrative machinery, including the state police, comes under the administrative control of the commission, it has to only issue orders. The implementation is automatic.

The other view, which is opposed to the blanket powers of the commission in regard to the transfer of officers, is that the commission gets the administrative control of the government machinery only from the date of notification of elections, which in the case of Haryana will be April 16. The experts subscribing to this view also say that the commission has no independent power to transfer an officer. It will have to approach the state government for implementation of its recommendation.

However, the code of conduct comes into force immediately after the announcement of the election programme, notwithstanding the date of notification.

What can the commission do if its order is not implemented? In case of a political party, the commission can go to the extent of derecognising it. But what happens if the defiance is on the part of a state government? Experts say the commission can declare that the constitutional machinery had broken down in a particular state, which can lead to the imposition of Presidentís rule.

The commission, which will be meeting newsmen here tomorrow, may like to impress upon the Haryana Government to come clean on its intention about its order before that.

A few days ago when Mr Chautala was asked by newsmen whether Mr Malik should not proceed on leave on moral grounds, he had not agreed with the suggestion. He said going by that analogy, even he could be asked to leave the chief ministership since his son was contesting the Lok Sabha election from Bhiwani.

Meanwhile, various political parties have welcomed the commissionís order. The Secretary of the Haryana Congress, Mr Vijay Bansal, said the commission had taken the right step at the right time. Mr Karan Singh Dalal, MLA, while welcoming the order, expressed apprehension that the commission would have to take a tough stand for ensuring the implementation of its order because Mr Chautala does not believe in the supremacy of law. 


EC wants 2 Punjab SSPs shifted
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, April 6
Acting on election related complaints, the Election Commission today directed the Punjab Government to transfer Roparís Senior Superintendent of Police (SSP) Surinderpal Singh and Ferozeporeís SSP H.S. Chahal with immediate effect.

According to sources in the Punjab Home Department, the government has also been directed to post the two officers in Punjab Police headquarters in Sector 9 here. The decision regarding the officers to be posted in their place was likely to be taken on Wednesday.

The action, sources added, was initiated on the basis of complaints filed by the Shiromani Akali Dal (SAD). The members had alleged violation of election code in the state.

The sources added that SAD had lodged a series of complaints claiming that the state government was misusing its machinery, including services of senior police officials.

The SAD had also alleged that the services of certain police officers would be availed in favour of the ruling Congress party during the elections in the state scheduled to be held on May 10.

Sources added that the Ropar SSP was conducting a probe against Punjabís former Chief Minister Parkash Singh Badal, while the Ferozepore SSPís son was among seven Deputy Superintendents of Police recently recruited. A petition challenging their appointment is pending before the Punjab and Haryana High Court.

It may be recalled that action had also been initiated against a Deputy Superintendent of Punjab Police (DSP) and a Station House Officer (SHO). While the DSPís transfer had been recommended, the SHO has been placed under suspension on the basis of a complaint alleging misconduct.Back

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