ECP grants ROs, DROs powers of magistrate for February 8 polls

ROs and DROs to act as magistrate of the first class till consolidation and announcement of polls results, says ECP

Officials appointed as returning officers attend ECPs training workshop for upcoming polls. — X/@UNDP_Pakistan
Officials appointed as returning officers attend ECP’s training workshop for upcoming polls. — X/@UNDP_Pakistan
  • Top electoral body issues notification for empowering polls officials.
  • ROs and DROs authority as magistrate comes into immediate effect. 
  • Officials authorised under under Section 193 of Elections Act, 2017.

As preparations for the February 8 polls enter the final stages, the Election Commission of Pakistan (ECP) on Friday granted the returning officers (ROs) and district returning officers (DROs) deputed across the country the powers of the magistrate for the conduct of polls.

With almost all arrangements for security and organisation of polls made, the country is set to stage the national-level elections next month.

The top electoral body has issued a notification for empowering the election officials, stating that the ROs and DROs will the step has been taken under Section 193 of the Elections Act, 2017.

— Geo News
— Geo News

The notification stated the ROs and DROs have been authorised to exercise the powers of the magistrate of the first class under the Code of Criminal Procedure, 1898, with immediate effect until the consolidation and announcement of official results of the general elections.

“The aforesaid officers shall exercise the powers of Magistrate First Class in respect of the offences defined in Section 169 and Section 171 punishable under Section 174 of Elections Act, 2017 (Act No. XXXIII of 2017) and may take cognizance of any such offence under Section 190 of the Code of Criminal Procedure and shall try it summarily under Chapter XX of the Code,” it stated. 

On Thursday, the polls organising body directed the armed forces set to be deployed for poll duty not to assume the duties of the polling staff under any circumstances.

The caretaker federal cabinet, on the recommendation of the Ministry of Interior, unanimously approved the deployment of the Pakistan Army and the civil armed forces personnel in sensitive constituencies during the upcoming general elections across the country.

The troops would help the civil institutions in holding free, fair and peaceful general elections — slated to be held in less than two weeks. 

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