New Delhi, July 22 (PTI): A move may be in the offing to bar civil servants, including top police officials, from jumping into the electoral fray immediately after they exit government service.
The government may prescribe a “cooling-off” period to such civil servants under a proposal of the legislative department through an amendment in the service rules, than in the electoral law.
Concerned over a number of “senior civil servants” jumping into the poll fray, the Election Commission (EC) had earlier this year asked the government to bring in a “cooling-off period” clause between leaving the government job and joining a political party by these officials which include those from the IAS, IPS and other Class A services.
The EC had asked the department of personnel and training (DoPT) to suggest a “suitable” cooling-off period for these officials so that they remain impartial during their tenure .
“By putting any provision in the Representation of the People Act, 1951 (with regard to the cooling off period) debarring the retired government servants from contesting elections and thereby curtailing their statutory right seems an arbitrary provision. Therefore, ... the remedy lies in making provision in the relevant service rules and not amendment in the election laws,” the legislative department said in a letter to the DoPT.
The DoPT had said the cooling off period may require amendment in the election laws.