People's Democracy

(Weekly Organ of the Communist Party of India (Marxist)

Vol. XXX

No. 16

April 16, 2006

Do EC Observers Have Executive Power?

CPI(M) Asks EC To Clarify


The Polit Bureau of the Communist Party of India (Marxist) issued the following statement on April 9, 2006


THE Polit Bureau of the CPI(M) expresses its concern over the statement issued by the Election Commission on “Election Commission’s decision on the report of two-member team sent to Paschim Medinipur district”. The team has reported about the complaint made by the CPI(M) on April 6, 2006. The Party had complained that police forces had raided the CPI(M) zonal office in Keshpur and the premises of one of its sympathisers under the instructions of the central observer Manmohan Singha.


The Polit Bureau is surprised to note that the conclusions of the inquiry conducted on the entire sequence of the raid and the role of the concerned observer does not tally with the facts revealed in the statement itself. Some of these are as follows:


The CPI(M) had complained that the observer had ordered the raid at the behest of some leaders of the All India Trinamul Congress. The statement says the following: “The observer then asked Pramanik to meet him at 4 p m at Circuit House and also told the SP to arrange for necessary force for conducting the raids”. Pramanik is the Trinamul Congress candidate for the Keshpur assembly constituency. It is not known what transpired in the meeting between the observer and Pramanik. The Superintendent of Police was not even informed about the exact place to be raided. A blanket authorisation for carrying out the raids was accorded to it in places where  Pramanik thought illegal arms could be recovered. On what basis can the observer rely on Pramanik who is a candidate belonging to a rival party in the elections? Further, how could the police party be asked to act on the basis of the identifier supplied by Pramanik?


The facts speak for themselves. The observer for reasons not known relied exclusively on charges made by a candidate with vested interest in the elections. He did not ask the police authorities or the district administration first to verify whether these charges were true. Instead, as the Election Commission statement points out, the observer told the SP to arrange for necessary forces and also at Pramanik’s request for more police forces so that raids could be conducted simultaneously at many places.

It is also a fact that the raids produced “nil” seizure report, which, of course, the statement does not find necessary to note. Further, the Commission has not taken note of the fact that the Trinamul Congress candidate had made false and malicious complaints.

There is a factual inaccuracy in the inquiry report. The raiding party consisted of a contingent of Punjab police also and was not exclusively of the state police as the report tries to make out. This is substantiated in a newspaper which is perceived to be highly critical of the CPI(M).


The CPI(M) regrets that the Commission has come to conclusions which are not borne out by the facts of the inquiry. To state that “distorted and unfounded allegations have been levelled against the observer who performed his duty correctly and in right earnest” seems more a post facto defence for partisan behaviour.

The CPI(M) had made complaints regarding three other observers about which the Commission has not responded. The way some observers are behaving in ordering arrests, raids etc. show that they are arrogating executive powers to themselves. It is necessary for the Election Commission to clarify whether the observers have executive powers under the present laws of the land to direct such raids.

Finally, all political parties must be concerned by the attitude adopted by the Commission which does not consider raids on the offices of a nationally recognised party instigated by electoral rivalry of an opposing candidate to be a serious matter.