Controversy Arises Over Pune District Collector’s Appointment, Election Commission Clarifies

Collector Divase with Maharashtra Chief Electoral Officer
Share this News:

Sumit Singh & Tikam Shekhawat
Pune, 23rd February 2024: The recent appointment of Dr Suhas Diwase as the Collector of Pune district on February 7 has stirred controversy, with claims that the transfer violated rules set in the context of the Lok Sabha elections.

Vijay Kumbhar, the Aam Aadmi Party’s regional vice-president and president of Surajya Sangharsh Samiti, urged the Election Commission to annul the transfer, citing a breach of the stipulated transfer criteria. The Election Commission has now provided clarification on the matter.

Transfer criteria have been established in light of the upcoming Lok Sabha elections, specifying that officers who have served in a district for three years or more should be transferred outside the district. If an officer has been in the district for over three years but is not involved in election-related work, they may continue in the district, provided they are not assigned election-related responsibilities in the future.

Dr Diwase held the position of Metropolitan Commissioner of Pune Metropolitan Region Development Authority (PMRDA) from July 2020 to August 2022. Subsequently, he served as the Maharashtra State Sports Commissioner based in Pune from September 2022 to February 7, 2024, before being appointed as the District Collector of Pune.

The Election Commission’s rule regarding transfers of officers from a district for three years or more raised concerns over Dr Diwase’s appointment. Kumbhar alleged that Dr Diwase’s transfer circumvented the Election Commission’s rules.

In response, Shrikant Deshpande, Maharashtra Chief Electoral Officer clarified, “Dr. Diwase was serving as the sports commissioner of the state. This position is at the state level, and although the headquarters is in Pune, the jurisdiction covers the entire state. Therefore, Dr. Diwase’s work area was not considered as Pune district. Accordingly, his appointment as Collector aligns with the established rules.”