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Chief Electoral Officer

A Chief Electoral Officer (CEO) functions under the supervision, control and overall guidance of the Election Commission of India. According to the Representation of the People’s Act 1950 and 1951, each state of India must be assisted with a Chief Electoral Officer during the State Assembly elections as well as the general elections. According to provisions of the above-mentioned acts, the CEO has a significant role to play during the elections to the office of the President and the Vice-President of India. The CEO supervises the preparation, revision and maintenance of the electoral rolls in the state. It is the duty of the Chief Electoral Officer to ensure free and fair elections in the state, such that more percentage of votes are cast. It is the responsibility of the CEO to enhance communication between the voters of a state and the different departments of elections within the state. Most importantly, it is the task of the CEO to ensure that no political party has any control with the elections in the state.

Need of Chief Electoral Officer in every state

Each state needs a Chief Electoral Officer so as to maintain maximum transparency in elections. The CEO supervises the procedure and machinery for election in a state. The State Election Department in every state, of which the CEO is an integral part, wishes to reach out to the people of the state to ensure better services in terms of Electoral Rolls, issuing valid Electors’ Photo Identity Cards (EPIC), ensuring thorough verification, scrutinization and correction of the EPIC cards and list of electoral rolls (spelling mistakes, mistakes in D.O.B etc.), digitizing maps to indicate areas of the polling stations and their respective distances, providing sufficient men power and material resources on the day of the elections and enforcing a model code of conduct to be followed by all voters. The CEO must also look into the financial managements during an election. The maintenance of law and order during the polling day depends largely on the Chief Electoral Officer.

The Chief Electoral Officer also superintends District Electoral Officers. In other words, the CEO is needed in every state to create maximum awareness of the rights and duties of the voters in the respective state, by building maximum outreach capacity to the voters.

Eligibility for becoming a CEO

The following conditions of eligibility must be met in order to become a CEO:

  • He/she must be a citizen of India.
  • He/she must not hold any office of profit.
  • He must be an Indian Administrative Services Officer.
  • He/she must not be a member of any political party for the duration of his tenure as CEO, or must not hold any affiliation to any political party during that time.
  • He should not be an employee of the Financial Institutions, Banking Institutions or Courts of Law.