A day after the State Election Commission (SEC) ordered the transfer of Moga Deputy Commissioner Sandeep Hans for putting off panchayats polls in two villages, the state government has decided to back the official. The government is mulling an appeal to State Election Commissioner Jagpal Singh Sandhu, urging him to reconsider the transfer order. Meanwhile, the transfer is yet to be executed and the government so far not sent a panel of three IAS officers to the SEC from its side. The SEC has also not withdrawn its transfer orders for the DC yet.
Hans had put off the election in two villages — Sekhan Kalan and Sekhan Mehar Singh — without keeping the Commission in the loop. The ongoing nomination process had not started in these villages. Taking a serious note of the matter, Sandhu ordered the official’s transfer on Tuesday. He also sought an explanation from Hans. The panchayat elections are scheduled in the state for December 30.
Sources said the Chief Minister’s Office, that has come to Hans’s rescue, is convinced with the DC’s plea that he followed the High Court’s order that asked the state government not to bifurcate the panchayats of these two villages. The state government had earlier bifurcated the panchayats of these two villages. The village residents had moved the HC and the court had overruled the state government orders.
The DC, in his reply to the Commission, has stated that he had followed the HC orders while putting off the election. He added that as per legal opinion in the case, if elections were conducted here then it could have amounted to contempt of court. Hence he was avoiding that. But sources said the SEC is of the view that election process was the jurisdiction of the Election Commission and the official should have at least taken the Commission into confidence.
Sources said the CMO has decided to step in as the DC’s transfer would cause embarrassment to the government.
A senior functionary of the government said, “Hans made only one mistake that he did not keep the Commission in the loop. He can be reprimanded for that. But he did bot flout any rule. Why should he be tainted after the transfer. He is a competent official.”