As you are aware, smooth conduct of elections right from the issue of Press Note till declaration of results mainly depends on you. You have to play a well defined and vital role in the conduct of elections. Slight mistake, lapse or wrong application of law/rules with regards to various elections-related functions, may vitiate the entire election process.
As the Returning Officers for the designated Assembly Constituency, it would be advisable to acquaint oneself completely with the up-to-date rules and procedures prescribed for the conduct of elections. You should not only familiarize yourself thoroughly with each step to be taken at various stages of the election process, but also with the operation of the Electronic Voting Machines.
I would, therefore, request you kindly to go through minutely:-
a) Not only with the latest Hand Book for ROs, but also the Hand Book for Presiding Officers, Sector Officers, Micro Observers along with Manual of election Laws. You should also acquaint yourself with the check-lists prepared and issued by ECI, for the Observers, ROs, Sector Officers, Presiding Officers, Micro Observers and for various important statutory activities along with the latest guidelines and instructions.
b) You should also familiarize yourself with the Representation of People’s Act, 1950, 1951, Conduct of Election Rules, 1961 and the relevant enactments, with which you would be primarily concerned.
c) You should study various Forms, Statutory/Non-Statutory which will be used in the current Elections and make sure that these are the latest Forms as per ECI instructions at the time of election.
d) You should also keep a close watch on any and every violation of the Model Code of Conduct besides closely supervising and coordinating the works of MCC squads and various teams as specified for the expenditure monitoring.
In the aforesaid backdrop, I would like to further state that as RO, you are primarily responsible for the smooth and unhindered conduct of election in your constituency. The principal issues which should engage your attention towards organisation of the upcoming elections are briefly mentioned as below:
- Draw in advance a programme and plan of detailed arrangements for the ensuing elections;
- Procurement of EVMs and election materials in desired quantity;
- Issue of Public Notice of Election in Form-1 as per the Conduct of Election Rules 1961, on the day of Notification;
- Advance preparation including preparation of Candidates Kit for receiving nomination papers, security deposit etc.
- Administering Oath or affirmation to candidate after they have filed their nomination paper;
- Dissemination of information contained in the affidavits filed by the candidates including uploading the same to the district website/kiosks, putting up in the office notice boards and to the members of the Press;
- Familiarize oneself with the rules and guidelines for proper scrutiny of nomination papers;
- Record reasons in brief for rejecting any nomination paper;
- Familiarize oneself with the rules and guidelines issued, for allotting symbols to the contesting candidates;
- Assess the requirement of ballot papers, postal ballot papers and tender ballot papers and tying up the arrangements for printing the same in the identified press;
- Familiarize oneself with the Rules & Guidelines issued in connection with Service Voters/Classified Service Voters;
- Familiarize oneself with the guidelines issued for preparation and commissioning of EVMs and ensure that commissioning is completed well in advance to the satisfaction of all concerned;
- Familiarize oneself with guidelines/instructions issued by ECI for the polling personnel and ensure that their training is completed in due time with all important aspects covered;
- You may yourself decide to attend some/most of these training programmes to ensure the quality of the same;
- Please ensure that the communication plan in your Assembly Constituency is ready by 10th of April. While preparing the same, think of a multi-media communication plan without relying on a particular medium;
- Coordinate the arrangements made at DCRC, Strong Room and on the day of poll;
- Do ensure that all the relevant statutory reports are sent in due time on DCRC day, on the day of poll and on the counting day;
- Familiarize oneself with the guidelines/ instructions issued for the counting personnel and the counting process by the ECI;
- Supervise the arrangements made for the training for counting personnel and at the counting venue;
- Familiarize oneself with the different type of reports and returns need to be sent to ECI through CEO West Bengal on specific date and ensure its timely submission to the office of DEO/CEO/ECI as instructed from time to time;
- Overall effective supervision of the election work and conduct of poll.
The aforesaid suggestions are only illustrative and in no way undermine the importance of circulars, guidelines and orders issued by ECI from time to time. I would expect you to kindly go through the aforesaid suggestions carefully and if a regular weekly feed back to this end, will be appreciated.
With best wishes,
Dr. Saumitra Mohan, IAS.
With best wishes,
Dr. Saumitra Mohan, IAS.