Parliament panel seeks government, EC views on regional commissioners for 2024 Lok Sabha polls

Parliament panel seeks government, EC views on regional commissioners for 2024 Lok Sabha polls

New Delhi: Asserting that the Election Commission (EC) should have optimum manpower, a parliamentary committee has sought views of the government and the poll panel on appointing regional commissioners to help the EC in the 2024 Lok Sabha elections.

There is a provision in the Constitution to appoint regional commissioners to assist the EC in various elections. During the first Lok Sabha elections in 1951, regional commissioners were appointed for six months in Bombay and Patna. After that, there was no such deployment.

In its report on Demands for Grants (2022-23) for the legislative department in the Union law ministry, the Parliamentary Standing Committee on Law and Personnel said that it has taken note of constitutional provisions and also the submission by the EC stating regional commissioners may be appointed by the President of India, if required.

However, after the first general elections, they were not appointed, the committee observed.

“The committee is of the view that ECI should have optimal level of manpower as per its requirements and accordingly, recommends the Legislative Department/Election Commission of India to submit its views on the appointment of regional commissioner/s for the forthcoming general elections to the Lok Sabha in the year 2024,” the committee headed by Sushil Modi said.

The legislative department is the nodal agency in the government to deal with issues relating to the EC.

The report was tabled in Parliament last week in the ongoing Budget session.

Article 324 of the Constitution deals with the Election Commission, and one of its provisions refers to regional commissioners.

According to Article 324(4), “before each general election to the House of the People and to the Legislative Assembly of each State, and before the first general election and thereafter before each biennial election to the Legislative Council of each State having such Council, the President may also appoint after consultation with the Election Commission such Regional Commissioners as he may consider necessary to assist the Election Commission in the performance of the functions conferred on the Commission…”

The poll panel secretariat here relies on its chief electoral officers in every state to help it hold free, fair and peaceful polls. The chief electoral officers are often called the “limbs” of the EC.


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