Poll panel staff allege move to retain Nasim Zaidi’s secy, ECI denies

Zaidi will complete his term as CEC on July 6. Ashwini Kumar, who was working in the Civil Aviation Ministry, was appointed as his PPS in August 2012.

By: Express News Service | New Delhi | Updated: May 19, 2017 5:07 am
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Officers and employees of the Election Commission of India have written to Chief Election Commissioner (CEC) Nasim Zaidi and Election Commissioners O P Rawat and A K Joti, opposing a purported move to retain Zaidi’s principal private secretary (PPS) after his retirement. The poll panel has denied that such a proposal ever existed.

Zaidi will complete his term as CEC on July 6. Ashwini Kumar, who was working in the Civil Aviation Ministry, was appointed as his PPS in August 2012.

According to the representation submitted by several EC employees and officers, accessed by The Indian Express, they have objected to the commission allegedly trying to retain Kumar as an assistant section officer or ASO after Zaidi’s retirement.

They have demanded that Kumar be repatriated to his parent department once the CEC retires as his appointment as PPS was on co-terminus basis —meaning that the appointment will expire with Zaidi’s retirement.

They have argued that Kumar’s purported “absorption” in the commission could affect the promotion prospects of other officers and staff already working in the EC. Kumar’s lateral entry into the commission, they said, could deprive an existing officer of a promotion.

The representation also claims that the recruitment rules of the poll panel do not contain any provision for retention of officers appointed on co-terminus basis.

The Election Commission of India Employees’ Union is learnt to have submitted a similar representation to the three election commissioners this week opposing any future move to hold Kumar back.

However, a section of officers and employees have also written letters of support for Kumar, stating that they have no objection if he were to be absorbed in the commission. Sources told The Indian Express that Kumar has recently applied for leave in which he has stated his intention to go back to his parent department after Zaidi retires.

Responding to The Indian Express’s questionnaire via email, the EC denied that there was any proposal to retain Kumar. “As of now, there is no proposal of absorption of Shri Ashwani Kumar as ASO in the commission,” Dhirendra Ojha, media officer and director at EC, said in his reply sent on Tuesday evening.

Asked if more than 100 employees of EC had written to Joti and Rawat opposing Kumar’s absorption, Ojha said, “Some employees belonging to stenographer cadre have made a representation to the Hon’ble Commission comprising Honourable Chief Election Commissioner and two Election Commissioners to not absorb Shri Ashwini Kumar. It is wrong to say that 100 or more employees have given their representations.”

To the question whether Kumar was appointed on co-terminus basis and if the commission’s recruitment rules permit permanent absorption of someone appointed on co-terminus basis in the CEC’s office, he said, “Any absorption is an administrative process internal to an organisation and may be undertaken from time to time based on the needs and as per extant rules of the organisation. Absorption of some suitable officials from different departments who came to Commission on deputation was done on earlier occasions also in the Election Commission of India.”

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  1. S
    Subspan Raman
    May 19, 2017 at 11:44 pm
    Seriously. Government servants should just do their work. There always people protesting, whining, making allegations and slandering like some mega serials. There seems to be no camaraderie among officers. They are probably protesting because they cannot get promoted.
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    1. H
      HeWhoKnows
      May 19, 2017 at 12:14 pm
      This is only tip of iceberg. The Election Commission has a tendency to put its heart at wrong places. It is in the process of giving undue benefit to Shri Kumar Rajeev, Under Secretary who was dismissed from the service in the past on corruption charges which has not been unproven. The appellate power to condone the punishment lies with the President of India whereas, the Election Commission is trying to usurp the power.
      Reply
      1. W
        White Rose
        May 22, 2017 at 5:05 pm
        Yes. Kumar Rajeev is behind all the trouble. Kumar Rajeev alongwith his stooges is trumping up support for Ashwini Kumar's absorption in ECI to barter the same with the condoning of punishment against him.
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        1. H
          HeWhoCares
          May 26, 2017 at 5:54 pm
          This is absolutely wrong! Mr. Rajeev Kumar was targeted and victimized badly in year 2003-04 by a caucus of his opposite group for a petty task of getting his own old mother treated at a government hospital. The way Enquiry was conducted keeping aside all the rules and regulations raises serious doubts in the in-side functioning of the ECI. Rajeev Kumar is fighting a long legal battle for JUSTICE. Last Year, one internal departmental committee cons uted to look into the case has found serious irregularities in the procedures followed to convict Rajeev Kumar. Hope Justice Shall Prevail
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        2. T
          TIHAEwale
          May 19, 2017 at 8:42 am
          what is the fuss. Ashwini kumar should be sent back to his parent department. firstly ECs should not have been allowed to bring in their PPS they should have taken one from ECs pool. earlier also there were complaints that Ashwini Kumar acted as a iron curtain when someone wanted to approach EC when failed to get proper hearing at junior officer levels in EC
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          1. H
            HeWhoCares
            May 26, 2017 at 12:07 pm
            First, there is no Fuss because ECs are Cons utionally empowered under Article 326 to appoint anyone to ist them in smooth running of their offices; Secondly, it is learnt that Ashwini Kumar never showed his interest in staying back in EC after completion of his tenure. Thirdly, he is widely acknowledged for his dedication and devotion towards his work besides having caring at ude towards his co-workers, there are whispers in the corridors that he would go beyond his limits to help his colleagues in distress, means, he must be acting as a filter for unscheduled visitors from political parties but of-course, as a catalyst in taking a call for his colleagues works. Finally, he commands great respect amongst all Seniors and because of his work ethics, it is learnt that all DECs want him to shoulder an appropriate responsibility in International Ins ute of Democracy for which he is yet to take a call..
            Reply