HANDBOOK FOR PRESIDING OFFICERS
EXTRACTS FROM THE
REPRESENTATION OF THE PEOPLE ACT, 1950
(CHAPTER I AND IX)
Presiding Officer for Polling Stations
General duty of the Presiding Officer
Duties of a Polling Officer
Appointment of Polling Agents.
Revocation of the appointment or death of a polling agent or
false declaration: If any person makes in connection with
(a) the preparation, revision or correction of an electoral roll; or
(b) the inclusion or exclusion of any entry in or from an electoral roll, a statement or
declaration in writing which is false and which he either knows or believes to be false or
does not believe to be true, he shall be punishable with imprisonment for a term which may
extend to one year, or with fine, or with both.
EXTRACTS FROM THE REPRESENTATION OF THE PEOPLE ACT, 1951
(1) The Election Commission may nominate an Observer who shall be an officer of
Government to watch the conduct of election or elections in a constituency or a group of
constituencies and to perform such other functions as may be entrusted to him by the
(2) The Observer nominated under sub-section (1) shall have the power to direct the
returning officer for the constituency or for any of the constituencies for which he has
been nominated, to stop the counting of votes at any time before the declaration of the
result or not to declare the result if in the opinion of the Observer booth capturing has
taken place at a large number of polling stations or at places fixed for the poll or
counting of votes or any ballot papers used at a polling station or at a place fixed for
the poll are unlawfully taken out of the custody of the returning officer or are
accidentally or intentionally destroyed or lost or are damaged or tampered with to such an
extent that the result of the poll at that polling station or place cannot be ascertained.
(3) Where an Observer has directed the returning officer under this section to stop
counting of votes or not to declare the result, the Observer shall forthwith report the
matter to the Election Commission and thereupon the Election Commission shall, after
taking all material circumstances into account, issue appropriate directions under section
58A or section 64A or section 66.
Explanation.For the purposes of sub-section (2) and sub-section (3),
"Observer" shall include a Regional Commissioner or any such officer of the
Election Commission as has been assigned under this section the duty of watching the
conduct of election or elections in a constituency or group of constituencies by the
26. Appointment of
Presiding Officer for Polling Stations : (1) The District Election Officer shall
appoint a Presiding Officer for each polling station and such Polling Officer or Officers
as he thinks necessary, but he shall not appoint any person who has been employed by or on
behalf of, or has been otherwise working for a candidate in or about the election:
Provided that if a Polling Officer is absent from the polling station, the Presiding
Officer may appoint any person who is present at the polling station other than a person
who has been employed by or on behalf of, or has been otherwise working for a candidate in
or about the election, to be the Polling Officer during the absence of the former officer,
and inform the District Election Officer accordingly :
Provided further that nothing in this sub-section shall prevent the District Election
Officer from appointing the same person to be the Presiding Officer for more than one
polling station in the same premises.
(2) A Polling Officer shall if so directed by the Presiding Officer perform all or any of
the functions of a Presiding Officer under this Act or any rules or order made thereunder.
(3) If the Presiding Officer, owing to illness or other unavoidable cause, is obliged to
absent himself from the polling station, his functions shall be performed by such Polling
Officer as has been previously authorised by the District Election Officer to perform such
functions during any such absence.
(4) References in this Act to the Presiding Officer shall, unless the context otherwise
requires, be deemed to include any person performing any function which he is authorised
to perform under sub-section (2) or sub-section (3), as the case may be.
(5) Any reference to a District Election Officer in section 25 and in this section
shall, in relation to a constituency in a Union Territory, be construed as a reference to
the Returning Officer for that constituency.
27. General duty
of the Presiding Officer : It shall be the general duty of the Presiding Officer
at a polling station to keep order thereat and to see that the poll is fairly taken.
28. Duties of a
Polling Officer. It shall be the duty of the Polling Officers at a polling
station to assist the Presiding Officer for such station in the performance of his
28-A. The Returning Officer, Assistant Returning Officer, Presiding Officer, Polling
Officer and any other Officer appointed under this Part and any Police Officer designated
for the time being by the State Government, for the conduct of any election shall be
deemed to be on deputation to the Election Commission for the period commencing on and
from the date of the Notification calling for such election and ending with the date of
declaration of the results of such election and accordingly, such officers shall, during
that period, be subject to the control, superintendence and discipline of the Election
of Polling Agents. A contesting candidate or his election agent may appoint in
the prescribed manner such number of agents and relief agents as may be prescribed to act
as polling agents of such candidate at each polling station provided under section 25 or
at the place fixed under sub-section (1) of section 29 for the poll.
48. Revocation of
the appointment or death of a polling agent or counting agents.(1) Any
revocation of the appointment of a polling agent shall be signed by the candidate or his
election agent and shall operate from the date on which it is lodged with such officer as
may be prescribed, and in the event of such a revocation or of the death of a polling
agent before the close of the poll, the candidate or his election agent may appoint in the
prescribed manner another polling agent at any time before the poll is closed and shall
forthwith give notice of such appointment in the prescribed manner to such officer as may
(2) Any revocation of the appointment of a counting agent shall be signed by the
candidate or his election agent and shall operate from the date on which it is lodged with
the Returning Officer, and in the event of such a revocation or of the death of a counting
agent before the commencement of the counting of votes, the candidate or his election
agent may appoint in the prescribed manner another counting agent at any time before the
counting of votes is commenced and shall forthwith give notice of such appointment in the
prescribed manner to the Returning Officer.
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