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ECI removes Home Secretary in 6 States & DGP of Bengal

Utkarsh Classes 19-03-2024
ECI removes Home Secretary in 6 States & DGP of Bengal Election 5 min read

The Election Commission of India on 18 March 2024 ordered the removal of Home Secretaries of six states and Rajeev Kumar, the Director General of Police in West Bengal.

This order of the Election Commission comes after it announced the schedules for the general election on 16 March 2024. The 2024 general election to constitute the 18th Lok Sabha will be held in seven phases across the country on April 19, April 26, May 7, May 13, May 20, May 25, and June 1.

The West Bengal government has appointed Vivek Sahay as the new Director General of Police after the Election Commission of India removed the incumbent, Rajeev Kumar. 

The Election Commission of India on 19 March 2024 appointed Sanjay Mukherjee as the new DGP and Inspector General of Police of West Bengal removing Vivek Sahay.

Which state officers have been removed? 

  • The Home secretaries of Bihar, Jharkhand, Himachal Pradesh, Gujarat, Uttar Pradesh, and Uttarakhand have been removed.
  • In Mizoram and Himachal Pradesh, secretaries of the general administrative departments have also been removed.
  • Brihanmumbai municipal commissioner Iqbal Singh Chahal and additional commissioners and deputy commissioners have also been removed.
  • The Election Commission also removed Rajeev Kumar, the Director General of Police West Bengal, who was considered close to the Mamata Banerjee government.

Election Commission's power to remove officers 

  • Under Article 324 of the constitution, the Election Commission of India is responsible for superintendence, direction and control of the preparation of the electoral rolls for and the conduct of all elections to Parliament and the Legislature of every State and to the offices of President and Vice President.
  • To ensure free and fair elections, the Election  Commission has the power to take suitable steps, including controlling the government administration after the notification of the election. 
  • With the announcement of the election schedule by Lok Sabha and its notification by the President of India, the Election Commission can direct the appropriate action to ensure a free and fair election.

Why the Election Commission has taken this action 

  • According to the Election Commission, the removed officers were found to be holding dual charges in the office of Chief Minister in respective states. 
  • This could potentially compromise or be seen as compromising the impartiality and neutrality required during the electoral process, especially in matters relating to law and order, force deployment, etc.
  • Additionally, to maintain transparency and integrity of the poll process, the Election Commission has instructed all state governments to transfer officers involved in election-related duties if they have served for three years or are stationed in their home districts. 

Election Commission of India 

  • The Election Commission of India is a constitutional body set up on 25 January 1950.
  • At present, it consists of three members. The chief election commissioner, Rajiv Kumar. Other members are Gyanesh Kumar and Sukhbir Singh Sandhu.
  • The President of India appoints them.
  • They hold office for six years from the date they assume their office or until they attain sixty-five years, whichever is earlier.

FAQ

Answer: Rajeev Kumar, Director General of Police of West Bengal

Answer: Article 324.

Answer: Vivek Kumar
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