TN Home Secy instructs to cut leave if department staff fail to vote; withdraws circular later

Since no one can compel even their family members to cast their votes, a civil servant threatening the employees working under her that CL/EL will be cut from their leave account if they fail to cast their votes is nothing but misuse of her office."
Election officers giving instruction to the government staffs for the upcoming Lok Sabha election polling in Tamil Nadu
Election officers giving instruction to the government staffs for the upcoming Lok Sabha election polling in Tamil NaduPhoto | Express

CHENNAI: Tamil Nadu Home Secretary P Amudha's circular dated April 18, stating that a day of casual leave (CL) or earned leave (EL) will be cut if the staff of Home, Prohibition and Excise Department fail to cast their vote has employees havne drawn flak from the employees.

Amudha, however, said the “circular is withdrawn” when TNIE contacted her on Friday afternoon to ask about the reported uneasiness the circular has caused among the government employees.

The Home Secretary’s circular said, "All the second-level officers are instructed to ensure that the staff under their control cast their vote properly. If not, they may be requested to give the details of the OP-1 Section so as to cut a day's Casual Leave/Earned Leave from their leave account according to their eligibility." She pointed out that April 19 has been declared a public holiday in view of the Lok Sabha elections and the by-election to the Vilavancode Assembly constituency.

Tamil Nadu Secretariat Association (TNSA) president K Venkatesan, in a representation to the State’s Chief Electoral Officer Satyabrata Sahoo, said, "The Home Secretary's circular is against the rules of the Election Commission of India as well the Constitution of India. Further, this is tantamount to interfering in the basic rights of the individuals.

Since no one can compel even their family members to cast their votes, a civil servant threatening the employees working under her that CL/EL will be cut from their leave account if they fail to cast their votes is nothing but misuse of her office."

Venkatesan said even those who hold high offices cannot order their employees to cast their votes since the ECI has given the right to voters under Rule No.49-O to record that they did not want to cast their votes.

"The employees of the home department have been subjected to severe mental agony. Hence, the CEO should cancel the circular issued by the Home Secretary and take appropriate action against her. The CEO should ensure that the employees of the home department cast their votes without any fear and ensure the rights of the individuals," Venkatesan added.

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