How is the security deployment plan made for elections? What factors are taken into consideration?
The near free, fair & peaceful conduct of elections in the country is testimony to the efforts of many organizations led by the Election Commission of India (ECI). Central Armed Police Forces (CAPFs) join the State Police for security during elections and ensure peaceful conduct of elections. Last year, the ECI has also announced honorarium to the personnel of CAPFs & State Armed Police force (SAP) deployed on election duty in recognition of their efforts and in response to a long pending demand.
CAPFs considered as main force multipliers
According to the ECI, during Elections, the Central Armed Police Forces (CAPF) are considered the main force multipliers due to their perceived neutrality, superior training and discipline, and experience of dealing with very challenging situations etc.
During elections, the State Governments also deploy a large number of their existing police forces and these are further augmented by the deployment of CAPFs for ensuring free, fair and peaceful conduct of elections.
Preparation of the State Deployment Plan for Elections
State governments have to prepare a State Deployment Plan for elections taking into account the available forces of the State Government/SAP and CAPF which will be made available by the Ministry of Home Affairs (MHA). State Deployment Plan will be prepared in consultation with the Chief Electoral Officer (CEO) of the State and his recommendations on the quantum of forces to be deployed to different constituencies will be taken into consideration for deployment. The State Level Force Coordinator appointed by MHA will assist the CEO in this task.
The State Deployment Plan will factor in the requirements of the different districts based on District Deployment Plans which will be prepared by every district taking into account the forces being made available by the State Government to the district, the CAPFs and other forces being made available from the State pool to the district and the available forces with the district. The District Deployment Plan shall be formulated and finalized by District Magistrate/District Election Officer and Superintendent of Police.
The Election Observer on his arrival to the district shall be briefed by the District Magistrate and Superintendent of Police and the views of the Observer if any should be considered. Both the State Deployment Plan and District Deployment Plan would be finalized at least one week before the day of poll.
The following factors may be considered for identifying Sensitive and trouble prone areas/polling booths:
- Past history of the Constituency or the polling area
- Incidents of Booth Capturing, violence, riots, large-scale impersonation etc
- Information regarding abnormal law & order situation in particular area
- Specific complaints made by political parties and candidates
- Nature of contest viz. political status of candidates
- Political rivalries
- Number of history sheeters and absconders
- Number of SC/ST voters
CAPF Jawan’s duty at the Polling Booth
The CAPF jawan posted at the entrance of a polling booth is expected to keep a watch of the following
- No unauthorized person is present inside the polling station at any time during the poll
- The polling party or the polling agents do not attempt to cast any vote or votes when no voter is present inside the polling booth
- No polling officer accompanies any voter to the voting compartment
- No polling agent or polling officer threatens any voter or makes any gesture to threaten them
- No arms are carried inside the polling station
- No silent rigging takes place
The CAPF jawan reports any violation to the chief of the CAPF party who in turn alerts the returning officer.
Strong rooms are also guarded by the CAPFs
Strong Rooms (place where the EVMs are stored after elections and before counting of votes) are also guarded 24/7 by the CAPF guards. They are part of a three-tier system of security put in place to guard the strong rooms. The three tier security works the following way.
- First tier, which is the innermost perimeter, shall be CAPF guard. This shall be a 24/7 CAPF armed guard. A minimum of one platoon of CAPF is provided for the round the clock guarding.
- Second tier shall be a guard of State armed Police
- Third tier shall be a guard of District Executive Force.
Long Pending demand of Honorarium accepted by the ECI
The ECI has accepted a long pending demand of extending honorarium to the security personnel deployed on election duty. The honorarium will be at the minimum rate of
- Rs 2500 for officers
- Rs 2000 for sub-ordinate officers
- Rs 1500 for other ranks for duty of 15 days or less
If the duty exceeds 15 days, then an enhancement of Rs 1250, Rs 1000 and Rs 750 per additional week will be made for the three categories mentioned above.
The expenditure will be borne by the Central Government in case of an election to the Lok Sabha and by the State Government in case of an election to the State Assembly. The expenses will be shared on a 50:50 basis in case of simultaneous elections to the Lok Sabha & the State Assembly.
Featured Image:Security at Polling Booth