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Ask ministries to approach us through you: EC to Cab Secy

NEW DELHI, Feb 2: Slamming the Government for failing to follow its instructions, a miffed Election Commission today asked the Cabinet Secretary to ensure that ministries do not approach it directly seeking model code clearance for Cabinet proposals.

In a strongly-worded note, the poll panel also said it will not entertain last-minute requests seeking approvals as it leads to creating “undue pressure” on it.

Referring to the January-27 letter addressed to him, the Commission told Cabinet Secretary P K Sinha that despite repeated instructions, “a tendency is being observed to flout the instructions of the Commission. Matters relating to Cabinet are sent directly to the Commission and that too at the last moment leaving no time for the EC to appropriately consider the issue.

“It leads to creating undue pressure on the Commission to give priority of such reference over its other urgent time- bound business,” the poll panel said.

Expressing “unhappiness” at non-compliance of its directions, it asked Sinha to ensure that its instructions are followed by Union ministries and departments.

“While making reference to the Commission, it should specifically be ensured that at least 48 hours is available… so as to convey its decision in time. Otherwise, it would be very difficult for the Commission to entertain such references,” it said.

On January 27, the poll watchdog had taken umbrage to certain union ministries failing to seek its concurrence before taking decisions which can affect level playing field during assembly polls in five states.

It had then specifically mentioned that the Finance Ministry, Niti Aayog and the Defence Ministry “failed” to refer important matters to it during the model code period. The code came into force on January 4 and will last till polls are over.

“The Commission has noted that in certain cases, the ministries/departments took decisions, which have effect of disturbing level playing field of poll-bound states, without referring the matter to the Commission, particularly by Niti Aayog, Ministry of Defence and Ministry of Finance,” the letter had said. (PTI)

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