NEW DELHI: The Indian president Thursday promulgated an ordinance insulating state government employees against any action for any offences allegedly committed by them in the course of discharge of their duties during the tenure of president’s rule.

The ordinance which amends section 197 of the code of criminal procedures would now require the prior sanction of the central government if any newly elected state government after a spell of president’s rule wanted to proceed against any of its employees.

The step has been taken in view of widespread apprehensions in the minds of government employees in the centrally ruled states specially Punjab and northeastern Indian Assam that the new set up that might come to shape after the elections might take recourse vindictive action against them for discharging their duties in a free and fair manner. Simranjit Singh Mann president of the Akali Dal Mann and other militant groups coming over ground to contest elections in Punjab have recently held out threats to state officials particularly law and order officers that they would be “dealt with” after the new government was formed in the state.

In view of these threats there were apprehensions in political parties that free and fair elections would not be possible until the government employees who form the bulk of election staff were provided statutory protection.

Article extracted from this publication >> May 10, 1991