Legal Provisions
Polling Personnel

Legal Provisions

1. Under section 26 of the Representation of the People Act, 1951, the District Election Officer will be responsible for the appointment of the Presiding Officer and Polling Officers and staff for each polling station, in the District. In Union territories, such appointments will be made by the Returning Officers concerned. When the constituency extends over more than one district, you should settle in consultation with the Chief Electoral Officer as to who should appoint the polling staff.

Polling Personnel

2. For the purpose of efficient control of the polling personnel and of economy in expenditure on travelling allowances, etc., each district, as far as practicable, should use its own personnel. All the available personnel working under the State and Central Government offices in the State, as well as under the local bodies, have to be mobilised and an assessment of the availability of the requisite number has to be made well in advance. This work calls for a lot of forethought and planning. The Commission has already addressed the Central Government and the State Government, who, in turn, have issued instructions to all heads of departments and offices of the Central and State Governments to furnish to the District Election Officer lists showing the number of officers in different categories. These lists would facilitate your task of making suitable selection of polling personnel

.2.2 Section 159 of the R.P. Act,1951 has recently been amended by the R.P. (Amendment) Act,1998 (Act No.12 of 1998). According to the said Section 159, as amended, the following authorities, when so requested by the CEO of the State, shall make available to any Returning Officer such staff as may be necessary for the performance of any duties in connection with an election :-
(i) every local authority;
(ii) every university established or incorporated by or under a Central, Provincial or State Act;
(iii) a Government company as defined in section 617 of the Companies Act,1956;
(iv) any other institution, concern or undertaking which is established by or under a Provincial or State Act or which is controlled, or financed wholly or substantially by funds provided, directly or indirectly, by the Central Government or a State Government.
In view of the above statement to Law, staff of any of the above mentioned authorities, companies, institutions, concerns or undertakings can be requisitioned and put on election duty, in addition to employees of Central and State Governments.

2.3 (a) In cases where employees of local bodies, namely, municipalities, panchayat Samities, Zila Parishads, etc., are engaged for polling duties in respect of a polling station, it should be ensured that the Presiding Officer and Senior Polling Officer of a polling station should not both be the employees of local authorities. Except the first polling officer, who does the identification, the others could be employees of local authorities.
(b) Bank employees may be drafted to the minimum extent possible only in a contingency where sufficient number of Government Employees are not available and/or in emergent circumstances such as strikes, etc., by the Government Employees:
(c) Care should be taken to see that normal functioning of the banks are not interrupted; and
(d) Bank employees drafted on election duty may, whenever possible, be kept on the reserved list and only in unavoidable circumstances, should they be put on duty. If practicable, their posting to any polling station outside their normal place of duty may be avoided.

2.4(a) While drafting Presiding Officers/Polling Officers, the availability of female polling Personnel should be examined for appointing Presiding/Polling Officers for polling stations set up exclusively for female voters or where the number of female voters, especially, purdahnashin women is large. In such polling stations there must be at least one lady polling officer who may attend to the duty of identification of women electors.

(b) You shall exempt all such women, who are in advance stage of pregnancy, whether on maternity leave or not, or who are otherwise on medical advice not fit for any rigorous or hazardous work, from being requisitioned for election duty. The same will apply to women who are breast feeding a newly born child

(c) You shall inform well in advance every female official called for election duty of the arrangements made for her stay, private and separate arrangement for women only at the place of duty to meet the calls of nature as well as for bath and dressing. Unless such arrangement is made and information in this behalf is furnished to such female official, she shall not be called to perform any election duty at any such place where the above arrangements are not available.

2.5 In case the employees belonging to the Revenue Collecting Department (Central and State) are busy in the collection of revenues, they should be appointed in consultation with departments in-charge of the revenue collection. All representations in this connection should be looked into and cases of disagreement, if any, should be brought to the notice of the Chief Electoral Officer immediately.

2.6 Further, school teachers who are working as extra department postmasters should not be put on polling duty as that will lead to interruption in the maintenance of the essential service of Posts and Telegraph Department