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Reinstatement order ‘technically invalid’

Calcutta, April 11: The order issued by the chief secretary yesterday mentioning that the eight officers transferred at the Election Commission’s behest will be reinstated in their previous posts after the poll process ends is not technically valid, Nabanna sources said today.

According to the sources, such an order had to be issued by the cadre-controlling authorities — the home department in the case of IPS officers and the personnel and administrative reforms department for IAS and WBCS officers — and required the chief minister’s signature.

The Election Commission has transferred one district magistrate, two additional district magistrates and five superintendents of police. Allegations of bias towards the ruling Trinamul Congress and inaction on Opposition complaints of violations of the model code have been made against most of them.

Chief secretary Sanjay Mitra issued a supplementary order yesterday stating that the eight officers would be reinstated in their previous posts after the election process ended.

“The officers were transferred and posted in the home department, the CID and the police directorate. The transfer orders were issued by the home and personnel and administrative reforms departments. Now if the government wants to send them back to their previous postings after the Lok Sabha polls, these two departments have to issue the fresh orders. The order issued by the chief secretary has no technical validity,” a senior Nabanna official said.

Officials said that according to the rules, the cadre-controlling authorities issued transfer proposals.

A transfer proposal is sent to the chief secretary. For officers above the rank of assistant secretary (in case of the civil administration) and superintendent (in case of the police), the final approval has to be given by the chief minister. The file then goes back to the cadre-controlling authorities, which issue the transfer orders.

All the eight transferred officers hold ranks that require the chief minister’s approval.

“In case of the eight officers transferred following the EC’s directive, this process was followed. If they have to be reinstated, the same process has to be followed,” another official said.

Senior state government officials feel the order issued by the chief secretary was “merely a message to the transferred officials to keep their morale high”.

EC officials said they were “not concerned” about the chief secretary’s order as the move would be taken after the election process is over.