Chautala defies EC order, refuses to change DGP
Haryana Chief Minister Om Prakash Chautala on Wednesday refused to entertain the Election Commission's (EC's) directive seeking the replacement of state director-general of police M S Malik. The EC responded, saying it would take appropriate action.
The EC had passed its order on Tuesday keeping in view the fact that Malik's wife was contesting the elections from Sonepat.
Haryana Chief Secretary A N Mathur told the Hindustan Times that the state government had received the EC's order but would act only after Chautala returned to Haryana in a couple of days.
At a press conference Chief Election Commissioner T S Krishna Murthy made it clear that the compliance was essential, though he declined to comment on what course of action the EC would take.
Krishna Murthy added that the order had been passed only to address public perceptions about the neutrality of the elections.
Chautala's defiance notwithstanding, the EC has wide-ranging powers to enforce compliance. It has sufficient control over transfer and deputation to nominate an officer to replace Malik.
There is an agreement between the EC, the states and the Centre that officers will be considered to be on deputation to the EC while the poll process is on. It is underwritten by the Supreme Court.
Moreover, once the elections are notified, the EC will interact with the chief secretary, not the chief minister. If the chief secretary fails to comply with an EC order, it can enter an adverse noting in his confidential report and service dossier.
The EC also has the right to countermand elections in the state or declare that conditions there are not conducive to holding elections. The latter may even lead to the imposition of President's rule.
That eventuality, observers say, is unlikely to come about.