HANDBOOKS


HANDBOOK FOR RETURNING OFFICERS

THE POLL

Persons to be admitted inside the polling station
Regulation of entry of voters
Facilities to press representatives and photographers
Identification of electors

Persons to be admitted inside the polling station

16.1 The Presiding Officer should admit into the polling station only the following persons:–

(a) the electors;
(b) polling officers;
(c) each candidate, his election agent and one polling agent of each candidate at a time;
(d) persons authorised by the Commission;
(e) public servants on duty;
(f) a child in arms accompanying an elector;
(g) a person accompanying a blind or an infirm voter who cannot move or vote without help; and
(h) such other persons as the Presiding Officer may from time to time admit for the purpose of identifying voters or otherwise assisting him in taking the poll.

16.2 The Returning Officers have been asked to issue identity cards to the contesting candidates bearing their photographs. In case necessity arises, the Presiding Officer may ask for its production. Similarly, the election agents of the candidates can be asked to produce their identity cards, i.e. the attested duplicate copy of their appointment letter. The attestation is made by the Returning Officer.

16.3 It should be noted that the expression public servants on duty does not include Ministers, State Ministers and Deputy Ministers of Centre and States according to the latest instructions of the Commission, they cannot be allowed to be appointed even as polling agent, as they have to be escorted by security guards who cannot be allowed entry into the polling station.

16.4 The above expression public servant on duty at does not normally include police officers. Such officers whether in uniform or in plain clothes should not as a general rule be allowed to enter into a polling station unless the Presiding Officer decides to call them inside in unavoidable circumstances for the maintenance of law and order or some similar purpose.

16.5 No security personnel accompanying any candidate, or any agent or any elector should be permitted to enter the polling station.

Regulation of entry of voters

17. There should be separate queues for men and women voters. The persons who enforce the queues will allow three or four voters into the polling station at a time as the Presiding Officer may direct. Other voters waiting to come in should be made to stand in queue outside. Infirm voters and women voters with babies in arms may be given precedence over other voters in the queue. Men and Women voters should be admitted into the polling station in alternate batches. The formation of more than one queue for men voters or for women voters should not be allowed.

Facilities to press representatives and photographers

18. Subject to the maintenance of peace and order, there is no objection to any photographer taking photographs of a crowd of voters lining up outside the polling station. However, no one including the publicity officials of the State Government should be allowed inside a polling station without a letter of authority from the Election Commission. In no circumstances, will any photograph be allowed to be taken of a voter recording his vote.

Identification of electors

19.1 When an elector enters the polling station, his identity will be checked by the first Polling Officer with reference to the entries in the electoral roll pertaining to such elector. Sub-rule (1) of rule 35 permits a Presiding Officer to employ at the polling station such persons as he thinks fit to help in the identification of electors or to assist him otherwise in taking the poll. Under sub-rule (2) of rule 34, the Returning Officer or the Presiding Officer may also appoint a woman to serve as an attendant at any polling station to assist women electors and also to assist the Presiding Officer generally in taking the poll in respect of women electors. Such women attendant will also help the Presiding Officer in frisking any women elector in case it becomes necessary.

19.2 As already instructed, lady polling officer should be appointed for identifying women electors at the polling stations which are set up exclusive for women electors or where there is a large number of purdahnasheen women electors.

19.3 Any village chowkidar/Revenue Officer or the like who may be employed as identifying officer by the Presiding Officer should normally be posted outside the entrance of the Polling station and should be admitted into the polling station only when he is required for the identification of a particular elector or for assisting the Presiding Officer for a particular purpose in connection with the taking of the poll.

19.4 The electors normally come to the polling station with an unofficial identity slip issued by a candidate or political party. The polling officer in-charge of identification of electors should not treat the identity of an elector as established by the mere production of such unofficial identity slip by the elector. He must satisfy himself about the identity of the elector and in case of any doubt the elector should be directed to present himself before the Presiding Officer who should make a further probe to satisfy himself about the identify of the elector. The Presiding Officer should hand over the person to the police with a written complaint in case he is proved to be an impersonator.



BACK TO INDEX I PREVIOUS PAGE I NEXT PAGE I NEXT DOCUMENT




Copyright 1998,
Election Commission of India. All rights reserved.