Kerala poll observer removed for inappropriate behaviour

April 11th, 2009 - 10:33 pm ICT by IANS  

New Delhi/Thiruvananthapuram, April 11 (IANS) The Election Commission Saturday removed P.L. Darbar, an election observer in Kerala, for meting out “uncalled for punishment” to an official and asked for disciplinary proceedings to be initiated against him.
Darbar, who is from Gujarat, is accused of forcing sectoral officer K. Soopy to do 10 half-squats after their verbal duel Friday on sealing an electronic voting machine (EVM).

“The Election Commission has received a report from Kerala CEO (chief electoral officer) that P.L. Darbar, observer for the Vadakara and Nadapuram assembly segments of the Vadakara parliamentary constituency, meted out uncalled for punishment to K. Soopy, extension officer, Melady Block office, and sector officer for Vanimel and Valayam,” the poll panel said in a statement issued in New Delhi.

“The entire sequence of events has been videographed by the accompanying official videographer. The commission has also seen the video clipping,” it said.

The commission said it is “extremely unhappy by the uncalled for action of the observer, P.L. Darbar”.

“The commission has withdrawn P.L. Darbar from observer duty with immediate effect. The commission has directed the Gujarat government to initiate disciplinary proceedings against Darbar,” it said.

Speaking to IANS Saturday, an official in the Kerala CEO’s office in Thiruvananthapuram said: “Following complaints, chief electoral officer Nalini Netto wrote to the Commission. They saw the video footage and have directed for Darbar’s withdrawal and also instructed the Gujarat government to take disciplinary action.”

After Darbar asked Soopy to do 10 half-squats as punishment for not following his orders, state officials held a protest at Vatakara and reported the matter to their seniors.

The Kozhikode district collector also intervened and reported the incident to the CEO, who took up the issue with the Commission.

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