Guidelines for Closing Central Government Offices During Elections

No. 12/14/99-JCA dt 10.10.2001, Closing of Central Government Offices in connection with elections to Lok Sabha / State Assembly /Panchayat / Municipalities / Corporation or other Local Bodies
No. 12/14/99-JCA dt 10.10.2001, Closing of Central Government Offices in connection with elections to Lok Sabha / State Assembly /Panchayat / Municipalities / Corporation or other Local Bodies

Facilitating Employee Voting: Central Government’s Guidelines on Office Closures During Elections

The Ministry of Personnel, Public Grievances & Pensions, Department of Personnel & Training, has released detailed guidelines (No. 12/14/99-JCA dated 10th October 2001) outlining the procedures for closing Central Government offices, including industrial establishments, during elections. These guidelines aim to ensure that Central Government employees can exercise their franchise without compromising essential services.

Key Points from the Guidelines

  • The relevant organizations shall remain closed in the notified areas where general elections to the Lok Sabha or State Legislative Assembly are scheduled.
  • For bye-elections to the Lok Sabha or State Assembly, only employees who are registered voters in the relevant constituency should be granted special casual leave on the day of polling.
  • For local body elections, employees who are registered voters should be offered reasonable facilities to exercise their franchise, subject to service exigencies.
  • Employees detailed on election duty may be permitted to remain away from their normal duties on polling day(s) and for any required travel.

Office Closures for General Elections to Lok Sabha and State Assemblies

According to the guidelines, relevant Central Government organizations shall remain closed in the notified areas where general elections to the Lok Sabha (Lower House of Parliament) or State Legislative Assemblies are scheduled. This measure allows employees who are registered voters in those areas to participate in the democratic process without any hindrance.

Special Casual Leave for Bye-Elections

For bye-elections to the Lok Sabha or State Assemblies, the guidelines stipulate that only employees who are registered voters in the relevant constituency should be granted special casual leave on the day of polling. This provision extends to employees who are ordinarily residents of the constituency but employed in Central Government organizations or industrial establishments located outside the constituency holding the bye-election.

Facilitating Voting in Local Body Elections

The guidelines also address local body elections, such as those for Panchayats, Corporations, and Municipalities. In these cases, Central Government employees who are registered voters and desire to exercise their franchise should be offered reasonable facilities, subject to the normal exigencies of service. These facilities may include options such as coming late to the office, leaving early, or taking a short absence on the day of the local body election.

Provisions for Employees on Election Duty

Recognizing the importance of smooth electoral processes, the guidelines make provisions for employees detailed on election duty. Such employees may be permitted to remain away from their normal duties on polling day(s), as well as on any days required for performing journeys related to their election duties.

Compliance with The Representation of the People Act, 1951

These guidelines are in line with Section 135B of The Representation of the People Act, 1951, which mandates that every person employed in any business, trade, industrial undertaking, or other establishment, and entitled to vote, shall be granted a paid holiday on the day of the poll. Failure to comply with this provision can result in fines for employers.

However, the Act also provides an exception for employees whose absence may cause danger or substantial loss in respect of the employment they are engaged in.

Relevant Section from The Representation of the People Act, 1951

135B. Grant of paid holiday to employees on the day of poll.—

  1. Every person employed in any business, trade, industrial undertaking or any other establishment and entitled to vote at an election to the House of the People or the Legislative Assembly of a State shall, on the day of poll, be granted a holiday.
  2. No deduction or abatement of the wages of any such person shall be made on account of a holiday having been granted in accordance with sub-section (1) and if such person is employed on the basis that he would not ordinarily receive wages for such a day, he shall nonetheless be paid for such day the wages he would have drawn had not a holiday been granted to him on that day.
  3. If an employer contravenes the provisions of sub-section (1) or sub-section (2), then such employer shall be punishable with fine which may extend to five hundred rupees.
  4. This section shall not apply to any elector whose absence may cause danger or substantial loss in respect of the employment in which he is engaged.

Summary of Key Points

  • Central Government offices to remain closed in areas with general elections to Lok Sabha or State Assembly.
  • Special casual leave granted to registered voters in the constituency for Lok Sabha/State Assembly bye-elections.
  • Reasonable facilities provided to registered voters for local body elections, subject to service requirements.
  • Leave permitted for employees involved in election duties on polling day(s) and for travel.

By issuing these comprehensive guidelines, the Government of India aims to strike a balance between facilitating the democratic right of Central Government employees to vote and ensuring the continuity of essential services. The guidelines demonstrate the government’s commitment to upholding the principles of democratic participation while maintaining administrative efficiency.

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