The Election Commission of India (ECI) has suspended three persons found guilty in connection with the publication of a convict's picture in 'Nirbhaya' case on the official hoardings of the Punjab state Election Commission.
This action came after the Delhi Commission for Women (DCW) sent a notice to the ECI demanding a thorough investigation in the matter.
A notice to the ECI from Swati Maliwal Jaihind, chairperson DCW, said, "Asha Devi, mother of brutal gang-rape and murder convict 'Nirbhaya' has informed that a picture is being circulated on social media wherein a photograph of a convict in the 'Nirbhaya' case was displayed on official hoardings of Punjab State Election Commission."
"Shockingly, the convict has been described as a brand ambassador of the Election Commission," the notice reads.
In its reply, the ECI has informed DCW that an inquiry was conducted by Punjab Chief Electoral Officer, subsequent to the notice of the women's commission and three persons - the Election Tehsildar of Hoshiarpur, an accountant who finalised the poster and proprietor of the printing press were found responsible for the lapse.
"As a result, the Election Tehsildar was suspended on July 23 and departmental action has been initiated against the accountant," the election body said. It further informed the DCW that an FIR has also been registered on July 24 against the proprietor of the printing press.
Considering the incident as a serious matter and demanding action against the officials responsible, the DCW, which issued a notice to the ECI on July 22, asked for details of officials responsible behind this act and steps taken by the Election Commission to ensure such incidents do not occur in the future.
In its response, the ECI has stated that it has given direction to all Chief Electoral Officers of the states and union territories to be careful in selecting the visuals for the posters, banners and advertisements. Further, the caption "issued by the Election Commission of India" should be printed only on such publicity material, where the prior permission of the commission has been obtained.
"It was very disturbing to note that Nirbhaya's rapist was glorified in an ECI advertisement. Her mother had met me and was inconsolable. She had informed me that despite the passage of 6 months (as the banner was displayed in January this year), no action had been taken against the erring officers," Maliwal stated.
After the notice by DCW, the ECI took action against its staff. Further directions have been issued to avoid such wrongdoings in future. All Government agencies must monitor their functioning to ensure that under no circumstance they glorify a rapist and hurt the feelings of Nirbhayas across the country".