Register FIRs against Returning Officers: HC

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Chandigarh, Jun 24 (UNI) Taking a serious view of the removal of the controversial record related to recent Panchayat polls in Punjab by two returning officers, the Punjab and Haryana High Court today ordered the state government to register FIRs and take action against them.

''The record is not the personal property of the returning officer and the same must remain to the office only'', Justice Ahluwalia said in his orders while directing the state government to register cases against the erring officers.

Returning officers J S Multani, an engineer with the Punjab State Electricity Board (PSEB), and Inderjit Singh, an SDO with PWD,B&R, both posted at Zira had conducted the elections to Gram Panchayats respectively of villages Kamalgarh and Gadriwala in Tehsil Zira in district Ferozepore on May 26,2008.

The polling at both the places became the subject matter of writ petitions for alleged irregularities due to which the High Court had ordered production of relevant record.

In the meantime, the State Election Commission acting on the complaints of some candidates removed these returning officers and appointed Bhupinder Singh, a senior executive engineer of the Punjab state electricity board (PSEB), as the returning officer for both the Panchayats.

Bhupinder Singh deposed before the vacation bench of Justice Kanwaljit Singh Ahluwalia on June 20 that the record could not be produced as the previous returning officers had taken away the same with them.


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