Meghalaya: ECI notice to women’s commission chairperson for poll code violation
Phidaloi Toi holds the position of a public servant after she was appointed as the chairperson of the commission in December, 2021
The election commission has issued a show cause to the chairperson of the Meghalaya state commission for women (MSCW) Phidaloi Toi for alleged violation of the model code of conduct by participating in a recent election rally of the NPP legislator from Jowai Wailadmiki Shylla.
Toi has been asked to submit her reply within a period of two days.
A delegation of Congress leaders led by AICC media coordinators – Bobbeeta Sharma, advocate Mathew Anthony and state mahila president Joplin Scott Shylla also submitted a complaint before the chief electoral officer (CEO) FR Kharkongor on Tuesday demanding the immediate removal of Toi as chairperson of the MSWC and to also disqualify Shylla as a candidate.
“We have taken cognizance of the complaint and I have entrusted my additional CEO in-charge MCMC who will in turn seek a report from the deputy commissioner of West Jaintia Hills district and verify the various points raised in the complaint,” Kharkongor told reporters.
“On receipt of the report, necessary action will follow. If need be, there will also be a show cause issued so that it is evenly balanced. We have to get from all sides, from the district administration we have to get the report, we have to get the reply from one being complained against,” he said while adding “We will then refer the report to the election commission, which will give us direction on what to do.”
When asked, Kharkongor said, “The chairperson of a women’s commission is usually a political appointee but we will have to check the rules and we also have to check the veracity of the complaint. So right now, until I get something in black and white it will be premature for me to say anything.”
The Congress in its complaint said in videos and a photograph shared with the media, the chairperson was seen walking with the candidate in Jowai.
Toi holds the position of a public servant after she was appointed as the chairperson of the commission in December, 2021.
According to the Meghalaya state commission for women Act, 2005 the chairperson, vice chairperson, members, officers and other employees of the commission shall be deemed public servants with the meaning of Section 21 of the Indian Penal Code and Section 2 (C) of the Prevention of Corruption Act, 1988.
Toi has also violated the Representation of People Act of 1951.
“Toi has violated the Model code of Conduct by participating in the above election rally of an NPP candidate. Thereby we urge the Election Commission to take serious note of this offence and remove Toi from the position of chairperson immediately. The candidate should also be immediately disqualified,” the Congress said in the complaint.
On February 13, the returning officer of Jowai constituency had issued a show cause notice to Toi directing her to reply as to why action should not be proposed to be taken against you for this violation of the Meghalaya Services (Conduct) Rules, 2019.
“Your reply should be given to the undersigned within two days failing which action will be taken against you,” the RO said.
The notice said, “As the Chairperson, Meghalaya State Commission for Women, you are deemed to be a public servant as per the description laid down in Section 21 of the Indian Penal Code, 1860.
It also said as per the provisions of Rule 20 of the Meghalaya Services (Conduct) Rules, 2019 states that, “No government employee shall be a member of, or otherwise be associated with any political party, or with any organization which takes part in politics, or whose activities have political bearing, nor shall he take part in, subscribe in aid of, or assist in any other manner, any political movement or activity.”
“Whereas, your actions as reported are in contravention of Rule 20 of the Meghalaya Services (Conduct) Rules, 2019 and are prejudicial to the neutrality expected of a government employee,” the notice added.