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Kerala govt cancels KSPC elections held in July 2013 due to anomalies in election process

Peethaambaran Kunnathoor, Chennai
Saturday, June 17, 2017, 08:00 Hrs  [IST]

Finding widespread anomalies in the election process, especially in the postal balloting system, the Kerala government has cancelled the elections to the Kerala State Pharmacy Council (KSPC) held way back on July 23, 2013. An order in this regard was issued on June 9, 2017.  Since complaints were mostly against postal ballots, the government has stopped postal balloting procedure for pharmacy council elections in future.

In future elections, special election booths will be set up in the district drugs control offices (offices of ADCs) and photo affixed election rolls of members (registered pharmacists) will be published district wise before the election process is started, says the order.

It is learnt that the government has gone to the extreme step of cancelling the election and ending postal balloting because of the headache created by registered pharmacists by lodging various complaints with government departments and filing petitions with the court. One pharmacist from Thrissur district, who was a candidate in the 2013 election, but could not win the election, later lodged complaint with the government secretary alleging irregularities in the election. Based on his complaint the government conducted an enquiry which found various anomalies held in the election process, especially in the ballot papers. Following this, government secretary set aside the election of the six members and an order was issued on 22 June 2016.

Against this cancellation order of the government, the elected members filed petition with the High Court of Kerala. The court, on hearing the case, directed the health secretary to reconsider the complaint filed by the Thrissur based pharmacist. Government soon conducted a hearing and further found that anomalies and violations of rules were held in the election process. Subsequently, the government decided to uphold its decision of 22.06.2016 (canceling the election) and an order was issued on June 9, 2017.

Responding to the decision of the government, president of the Council, Rajan B Rajan, said usually the state government makes amendments in the rules of election process on proposals submitted to the government by the council. He said the drugs control offices have no connection with pharmacy council and many of the officers in the council are not pharmacists. The decision to stop postal balloting system and setting up election booths in drugs control offices raises legal problems and the council will seek advice from experts.

Regarding anomalies and violations of rules in election process, he said the election was conducted by Returning Officer and Council has no role in it. As per the election roll, there were 24640 pharmacists eligible to vote in 2013. The election was conducted as per section 19 (a) of the Pharmacy Act.

When contacted, the complainant pharmacist at Thrissur said that he is in discussion with his advocate to file a case against the Returning Officer.

 

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Bhagavan P S Jun 18, 2017 11:59 PM
Excellent decision.

But it should be e-election.
 
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