EC vindicates Nataraj transfer before HC
Chennai, Mar 22 (UNI) The Election Commission (EC) today told Madras High court that its decision to transfer Commissioner of Police (CoP) R Nataraj was to ensure free and fair elections in Tamil Nadu.
State Chief Electoral Officer (CEO) Naresh Gupta who filed the counter on behalf of the EC said Mr Nataraj showering praise on Chief Minister J Jayalalithaa when the model code of conduct was in force amounted to influencing the minds of voters.
'The Commission felt such a statement by the CoP could create serious apprehension in the minds of electors, candidates, political parties and other stakeholders about his impartiality, objectivity and neutrality.'' he said.
If any officer in charge of maintaining law and order took a very favourable position with regard to any political leader, then it was likely to influence not only the minds of voters, candidates and political parties, but also the mind of the entire law and order machinery and create reasonable apprehension in their minds with regard to the conduct of the entire poll, Mr Gupta said.
Whatever may be the personal opinion of any particular officer entrusted with the task of conducting elections or maintaining law and order in relation to any political functionary or party, the said officer was not expected to express it publicly, particularly when he held a very high office, he further submitted.
The CEO sought a dismissal as not maintainable, the petition by State Home Secretary challenging the EC order transferring Mr Natraj.
UNI XR/HV LR VC1600