Returning Officer (RO)

Why is it in News?

The role of Returning Officer has become an “Apple of Discord” among the political parties in the General Elections of 2019.

Returning Officer:

  • A Returning Officer is responsible for overseeing the election in a constituency, or sometimes in two constituencies, as directed by the Election Commission (EC).
  • The EC appoints the Returning Officer and Assistant Returning Officer for a constituency in consultation with the governments of the State or Union Territory as the case may be.
  • Role of RO is mentioned in Part IV of Representation of People Act 1951.
  • The EC can designate or nominate the same person to be returning officer for more than one constituency.

Duties of Returning Officer:

The Returning Officer’s duties include accepting and scrutinizing nomination forms, publishing the affidavits of candidates, allotting symbols to the contesting candidates, preparing the list of contesting candidates, preparing the EVMs and VVPATs, training polling personnel, designating counting centres, and counting the votes and declaring the result.

Source: TH