With just 20 days to go before the Assembly polls, Maharashtra’s chief electoral officer will have to undertake the exercise of speaking to numerous institutional heads and requisite their staff for the Assembly elections.
The Bombay High Court on Friday cancelled all requisitions by district electoral officers across the state, saying they are not empowered to do so.
A division bench comprising Justice SB Mhase and Justice RM Sawant opined that under the Representation of the People Act only state chief electoral officers or regional election commissioners are empowered to requisite staff for polls.
Three cooperative banks from Thane district — Thane Janta Sahakari Bank, Kalyan Janta Sahakari Bank and Dombivli Nagri Sahakari Bank, and the LIC of India had moved the high court saying the ECI had no authority to requisite their staff for any poll.
The banks had told the court that although there were 25 co-operative banks operating from Thane district, staff of only the petitioner banks was diverted for the assembly polls. Senior counsel Rafiq Dada said that LIC’s staff was requisitioned without consideration made for the business of the public sector insurance company.
All 40 staffers of LIC’s Ghatkopar branch were requisitioned for the elections and the branch manager did not even know about it, the counsel said.
The state chief electoral officer will have to speak to the heads of the institutions from where he wants to draw the staff. The institutional heads would allot the required number of their employees only after keeping the required number for their businesses.