With possibility of the state legislative assembly being dissolved looming large owing to the current political situation, there is now an indication that Goa may indeed have to face mid-term polls, as Chief Secretary Dharmendra Sharma has issued a circular to all the heads of the departments and District Collectors.
The circular issued by the Chief Secretary mentions about the directives of the Election Commission of India (ECI) to be followed when a caretaker government is asked to carry on with the administration of a state.
Following the receipt of the particular circular, there has been talk at the officers’ level that there could be premature dissolution of the state legislative assembly at any time.
The circular was issued on November 14. However, the Chief Secretary has not highlighted the reason behind issuing the circular to the heads of departments. The circular states that the ECI has considered the matter of application of model code of conduct in the cases of premature dissolution of state assembly where a caretaker government has been asked to carry on with the administration of the state/Union territory for the purpose of free fair, transparent, and robust electoral process.
“On careful consideration of the matter, keeping the observation of the Supreme Court in S R Bommai and others versus Union of India and others (1994), the caretaker government should merely run the day-to-day government and desist from taking any major policy situation decision,” it states.
The circular states that hence the ECI has directed that in such an eventuality as described above, the provision of Part-VII (party in power) of the model code of conduct shall come into operation with immediate effect in the state concerned and shall continue to be in force till the completion of election to constitute the new legislative assembly.
It further states that the provision of aforesaid part-VII of model code of conduct shall apply on the caretaker government as
well as on the central government in so far as matters relating to that state are concerned. “Consequently, neither the caretaker government nor the central government shall announce any new schemes, projects, etc in respect of that state or undertake any of the activities prohibited under the aforesaid model code of conduct,” the directive reads.
Further, the directive states that all the other prohibitions under part-VII, such as use of official resources for non-official purposes, combining of official visits with electioneering works etc shall apply to all ministers and other authorities of the caretaker state government, the central government as well as the governments of other states.
Interestingly, a copy of the circular has been forwarded to the office of chief electoral office at Altinho besides all the heads of the departments, corporations and autonomous bodies, district collectors, deputy collectors and mamlatdars.