RETURNING OFFICER (RO) (Syllabus GS Paper 2 – Polity)

News-CRUX-10     4th June 2024        

Context: Recently, over the last month and a half, 642 million voters participated in the world's largest democratic exercise, and now vote counting has commenced under the supervision of the returning office.

Related Terms

  • EVM: It facilitate candidate selection through button presses.
  • VVPATs: When a vote is cast, the VVPAT machine, attached to the Electronic Voting Machine (EVM), prints a slip displaying the voter's choice.
  • Form 17C: As per the Conduct of Election Rules, 1961, the Election Commission of India (ECI) maintains two forms: Forms 17A and 17C.

Returning Officer (RO)

  • About: The RO of a Parliamentary or assembly constituency is responsible for the conduct of elections in the respective constituency.
  • Role: The Election Commission of India nominates or designates an officer of the Government or a local authority as the Returning Officer for each assembly and parliamentary constituency.

oThis nomination is made in consultation with the State Government or Union Territory Administration.

  • Role of Assistant Returning Officers: The Election Commission appoints one or more Assistant Returning Officers for each constituency to assist the Returning Officer in carrying out their duties.
  • Assistance in Election Conduct:
  • After the issuance of notifications, candidates can file their nominations in the constituencies where they wish to contest.
  • The Returning Officer scrutinizes these nominations after the last date for filing nominations.
  • Two types of votes are counted: EVM votes, and votes cast through postal ballots (which are used for senior citizens, physically challenged individuals, service voters, etc). Postal ballots are counted separately from EVM votes.

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