Chawla writes to PM on statute change on CEC’s powers
PRESS TRUST OF INDIA
New Delhi, Jan 25: Chief Election Commissioner Naveen Chawla, whose sacking was demanded by his predecessor N Gopalswami, today said he has written to Prime Minister Manmohan Singh for amendment of the Constitution for “equalising” the removal procedure of CEC and ECs.
“What is happening in precept and practice, I would like that to be equalised by a Constitutional amendment. And I have so written to the Prime Minister,” he told reporters on the sidelines of the function got up for the Diamnond Jubilee celebrations of the Election Commission.
One of the other two ECs V S Sampath, said the functionaries (in the Commission) are in a position to function in an autonomous manner.
“From that angle I would say he has taken the right step,” he added.
Chawla had told PTI last Friday that once the Diamond Jubilee celebrations are over, the Election Commission will discuss amendment of the Constitution to see that the CEC does not have the power to remove an Election Commissioner.
“I don’t believe that I have the power. I have the power only of consensus. We are a three-member Commission. Only for administrative reasons, there is a CEC. Otherwise our powers are completely equal,” the CEC had said.
Chawla, against whom his predecessor Gopalaswami had made the unprecedented recommendation for his removal last year, said that since the CEC does not have such a power, the Constitution should reflect that position.
Asked what has been the government’s reaction to his view on the issue, Chawla, who will demit office in July after more than a year as CEC, had said he has still not written to the government.
“I propose to consider that (writing to the government) after the Diamond Jubilee celebrations. I have not written yet. We have to discuss it in the Commission,” he said.
Chawla had assumed the office after the first phase of Lok Sabha polls last year following government’s rejection his predecessor’s recommendation for his removal on the alleged ground of “partisanship”.
Article 324 of the Constitution provides that while the CEC shall be removed only by an impeachment procedure, the other ECs shall not be removed except on the recommendation of the CEC.
The BJP relied on this provision to seek the removal of Chawla and Gopalaswami had also insisted that he had such a power.
The CEC had in November said he will write to the government making his recommendation for the Constitutional amendment.
Lastupdate on : Mon, 25 Jan 2010 21:30:00 Makkah time
Lastupdate on : Mon, 25 Jan 2010 18:30:00 GMT
Lastupdate on : Tue, 26 Jan 2010 00:00:00 IST
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