The Election Commission has issued the 'Code of Conduct for EC Office-bearers, 2021' to ensure the involvement of its office-bearers in managing and conducting elections in a fair, independent, impartial, credible, transparent and economical manner, while enhancing people's faith in the election system.

The code of conduct requires EC office-bearers to perform their duties and responsibilities in relation to election management independently without being carried away or intimidated by undue pressure, temptation, prejudice, threat and canvassing.

It has also made it mandatory for office-bearers to stay away from the influence of parties involved in dispute with regard to claim over the party. "No office-bearer shall interfere in the works of his/ her co-worker in the course of settlement of disputes related to political parties and elections.

The office-bearers shall carry out work in such a way as to promote the autonomy of the EC," reads the code of conduct.

As per the code of conduct, office-bearers shall maintain dignity of their posts without establishing undue relationship with other persons. "The office-bearers shall carry out their duties and responsibilities with utmost efficiency and honesty, subject to the constitution and the prevailing laws. They shall settle disputes between the factions of political parties without any prejudice," it says.

It also bars office-bearers from discriminating against any political party, election candidate, agency and stakeholders.

The code of conduct prohibits office-bearers to liaise with the members of legislature and executive in person.

Office-bearers have also been barred from accepting any gift or donation from any person or organisation in a manner that affects their official responsibilities.

Similarly, the code of conduct bars office-bearers from establishing and operating any bank, company or cooperative organisation without approval of the EC. They are also not allowed to support or oppose any political party and its sister organisation.

"The office-bearers shall maintain financial discipline and stay away from committing sexual harassment of others. Those violating the code of conduct shall be liable to legal action under the prevailing laws," it warns.

They are also not allowed to express their personal opinions and views regarding the EC during media interviews or through social media, to speak for and against any political party and to divulge the confidential information related to the EC's functions.

A version of this article appears in the print on June 30 2021, of The Himalayan Times.