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Departments violating model code of conduct norms, retd IAS officer files complaint

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A retired Indian Administrative (IAS) officer JM Pathania on Sunday wrote to the Chief Electoral Officer (CEO), Himachal Pradesh, Maneesh Garg to complaint against the state government departments, boards and corporations violating Model Code of Conduct (MCC).

Pathania alleged that sixteen government departments, boards, corporations and cooperative banks have violated the MCC as their websites still flash pictures of ministers, politicians and political parties.

This was also the first complaint of a violation of MCC in the run-up to the November 12 elections.

The Election Commission of India declared the election schedule for Himachal on October 14 and which also brought into force the MCC.

“I would like to draw your kind attention towards several cases of violation of (MCC) by different State Government departments/boards and corporations. With the announcement of the General Assembly Election 2022 on October 14 2022, the Model code of conduct has come into force and ECI instructions provide that all references of ministers, politicians or political parties available on the central/state government’s official website, shall be removed,” wrote Pathania.

He said the CEO has to take immediate action to remove/hide the photographs of any political functionary from the official websites of state departments.

“Sixteen such cases of violation have come to our notice,” he wrote providing a list of such departments along with URLs and seeking immediate actions.

The list includes Planning Department, Kangra Central Cooperative Bank, HPAIC, I&PR, Transport Department, TCP, HRTC, Civil Supplies Corporation, electricity board, State Cooperative Bank Shimla, CM Relief Fund, HIMFED, HIMURJA, RERA, State Commission for Backward Classes and HP State Commission for Women.

Meanwhile, a spokesperson of the election department said that they had received a complaint, and notices have been issued to concerned departments directing them to remove such material (pictures of political parties and politicians) from their websites.

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