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Mellowed EC says cops can brief CMs

The EC on Sunday modified its earlier directive issued on April 8 which barred senior IPS officials including state DGPs and intelligence chiefs from briefing chief ministers on the security scenario till polling is complete. Soumyajit Pattnaik reports.

india Updated: Apr 28, 2009 00:15 IST
Soumyajit Pattnaik

The Election Commission (EC) on Sunday modified its earlier directive issued on April 8 which barred senior IPS officials including state DGPs and intelligence chiefs from briefing chief ministers on the security scenario till polling is complete.

A revised EC order issued on Sunday says: “Whatever is required under the circumstances, including informing the political executives by the DGP and taking directions from them, should be undertaken by the police agencies in the bona fide performance of their duty or exercise of their authority.”

As per the old order, the DGP or state intelligence chiefs were to brief home secretary or chief secretary, who in turn would brief the chief minister. The curbs on DGPs had drawn flak from senior IPS officials.

“Such a move is unwarranted. It sends a wrong message about the IPS officers. The IAS is after all another all-India service like the IPS. The EC ought to have faith in the police administration,” a senior IPS official had told Hindustan Times.

The new directive issued to the Orissa chief secretary said, "The spirit behind the commission's instruction is to safeguard a free, fair and transparent election and provide a level playing field to all political parties as also to ensure that there is no scope for public complaints that the political executive/government of the day is misusing the governmental machinery for political purposes. It is reiterated that these instructions should, however, not be construed as any restriction to any security related activity of the law and order enforcing agencies."

"Therefore, in situations where it is so warranted, the law and order enforcing agencies should not take the plea of EC instructions for any inaction or delay in action to be taken by them," the new directive adds.