State writes second letter to ECI seeking extension for BMC chief | Mumbai News – Times of India | IIT EXPERT

MUMBAI: The state government is on a collision course with the Election Commission of India (ECI) over the transfer of BMC commissioner I S Chahal. It has written to the body for the second time asking to be allowed to retain Chahal a few days ago, sources said.
This comes almost three weeks after the ECI had rejected the state government’s request to allow Chahal and other municipal commissioners and additional municipal commissioners to continue in their posts till the end of May in view of monsoon preparation work. The state’s first letter was sent on February 26th. The ECI wrote back on February 27th rejecting the request.
When asked about Chahal’s status, the state’s Chief Electoral Officer S Chockalingam said, “The ECI will give an appropriate response.”
If the ECI insists on Chahal’s transfer, it will be an embarrassment for the state government which has dragged its feet on the issue. If the ECI backtracks, it could set a precedent for more pushback from states on issues like transfer directives.
On February 22, the ECI had written to the state government pointing out that municipal commissioners and additional municipal commissioners in the state were covered under its transfer policy. Its original directive on December 21, 2023 said that officers connected directly with the elections would not be allowed to continue in their home districts if they had completed 3 years.
In its letter on February 26th the state government had clarified that the municipal commissioners and additional municipal commissioners were not directly related to election work. It also said that they were not in the direct chain of command of election-related officials. However, the ECI rejected the state’s request for an extension of time on the transfers.
Besides Chahal, the other officers facing transfers as a result of the ECI directives include additional municipal commissioners in the BMC Ashwini Bhide and P Velarasu as well as Pune municipal commissioner Vikram Kumar.

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