Odisha: IAS Officer Suspended For Checking PM's Chopper Plans To Challenge EC's Order
Just a day after the Central Administrative Tribunal (CAT) order, the IAS officer Sh Mohammed Mohsin in a press release said that he would have to seek appropriate legal remedy against the Election Commission’s order of recommending disciplinary action against him, reported Asian Age.
The Bengaluru bench of the CAT on April 25 stayed the order of the EC suspending Mohsin for checking Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s order during his Odisha visit. The bench further directed Mohsin to resume his duty in Karnataka. However, hours after CAT’s order the EC revoked the suspension and further suggested Karnataka Govt. to take disciplinary action against him and also debarred him from further election duty until further orders.
What happened earlier?
On Tuesday (16 April 2019), PM Modi was in Sambalpur, Odisha to address a rally. Sh. Mohammed Mohsin, IAS, Karnataka cadre, who was appointed general observer for Sambalpur in Odisha checked PM Modi’s chopper. A flying squad team in the region inspected Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s helicopter. Election Commission claimed that by doing so, he has contravened the instructions of the commission concerning SPG (Special Protection Group) protectee. SPG protectees including the Prime Minister of the nation are exempted from checking. A BJP representative has confirmed it to The Scroll that search took place but Mohsin’s role in the search wasn’t very clear.
“Taking cognisance of the matter and based on available facts, the observer was placed under suspension and removed from the observer duty,” an EC official said. The commission has now appointed Deputy Election Commissioner Dharmendra Sharma to visit Sambalpur, investigate into the matter and deliver a detailed report in two days. The poll body in its order stated that it had prima facie found Mohammed Mohsin guilty of dereliction of duty for he failed to act in conformity with instructions related to the treatment of dignitaries under the SPG protection. Poll body’s order of Mohsin’s suspension came into force immediately as stated in the order.
Election Commission appoints general observers in all parliamentary constituencies to ensure smooth functioning and a fair election. It is a general practice to appoint these officers from different states to ensure that the officers are not related to or familiar with the contestants.
Has the EC stated non-existing rules to suspend Mohsin?
Certain allegations of EC citing rules which do not exist had surfaced recently. The poll body in its order states two instructions: No. 464/INST/2014/EPS dated April 12, 2014, and No.76/Instruction 2019/EEPS/Vol-I dated March 22, 2019.
464/INST/2014/EPS talks about the usage of vehicles during elections and absolutely nothing about checking SPG protectees or their vehicles. No.76/Instruction 2019/EEPS/Vol-I could not be found on EC’s website. So, that means there is no rule or protocol which EC’s observer could have violated by checking PM’s chopper.
EC stating non-existent rules to suspend an official for checking PM’s chopper gives birth to various suspicions. Very recently, a mysterious black box was seen being transferred from PM’s chopper to a private car. After such an incident, opposition parties were very much expecting the EC to check PM’s chopper. KS Naveen, President of Chitradurga unit of BJP while talking to Deccan Herald, claimed that box to have been carrying teleprompter and other electronic equipments. Upon being asked on why it wasn’t taken to the rally along with PM, he said that it was to reach the rally before the PM and carrying it with the convoy would be time consuming.
There have been instances where during polls EC was allowed to check convoys of both current & the former Congress President
SPG protectees can’t be frisked personally
Why suspend an officer for checking PM’s chopper?
What message is being sent? Law is special for some ?
— Ahmed Patel (@ahmedpatel) April 18, 2019