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Returning Officer is final authority on recount decisions: Election Commission


ELECTION_12COMMISSION_EPS11

NEW DELHI:  The Election Commission on Tuesday asserted that the RO (Returning Officer) is the final authority under the law when it comes to making decisions on recount. The Commission’s clarification comes a day after the Nandigram RO refused TMC’s request for a recount in the constituency, which TMC leader Mamata Banerjee lost to BJP’s Suvendhu Adhikari. 

The poll panel said the available remedy, in such a situation, is to file a petition (EP) before the High Court. The Commission also directed the chief election officer in West Bengal to ensure that all election records, including polled EVM/VVPAT, video records, and statutory papers and counting records, are held in safe custody. Meanwhile, the West Bengal government has informed the EC that it is providing necessary security to the Nandigram returning officer.

On Tuesday, the poll panel had asked the government to ensure that all appropriate measures are taken to provide necessary security to the RO. The EC also demanded that the RO be provided with necessary medical support. Referring to the matter of recounting in Nandigram constituency, the EC said that Returning Officer (RO) of an Assembly Constituency performs statutory functions under the RP Act, 1951 in quasi-judicial capacity independently.

“Whether it is nomination, polling or counting, the RO acts strictly in accordance with the extant electoral laws, instructions and guidelines of the ECI,” it added. The RO had rejected the TMC’s demand for recount, on the basis of the material facts available before him in accordance with the provisions of Rule 63 of the RP Act, and declared the result.

(THE NEW INDIAN EXPRESS)