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Updated: September 8, 2009 03:19 IST

Chawla: Election Commission is a constitutional body of equals

J. Balaji
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Chief Election Commissioner Navin Chawla.
The Hindu Chief Election Commissioner Navin Chawla.

As part of bringing in more transparency and reforms in the functioning of the Election Commission, the Commission has now decided that the performance appraisal report or annual confidential report would hereafter be written jointly by the Chief Election Commissioner (CEC) and the two Election Commissioners (ECs).

Hitherto, writing or reviewing such reports was the prerogative of the CEO and the ECs had no role to play.

As per EC guidelines, the Annual Confidential Report on the officers in the rank of Deputy Election Commissioners and above , and Deputy Secretaries and above in the State/Union Territories election departments have to be written or reviewed by the CEC alone.

In the States/UTs, the ACRs of officers like Deputy Chief CEOs or Joint CEOs/additional CEOs were written by the respective Chief Electoral Officers and then forwarded to the CEC for approval/review. Now, the system is totally changed and all three members are to be involved in the job.

When contacted, CEC Navin Chawla confirmed the report and informed that the Commission already issued a circular in this regard. Though the CEC was the first among equals with certain leadership and administrative responsibilities,

“I wanted to involve both the Election Commissioners – S.Y. Quraishi and V.S. Sampath — in the exercise,” he said.

The legal position was that the three-member Election Commission was a constitutional body of co-equals, with equal voting power, he added.

“Hereafter all three of us would jointly write the report. This has not been done ever since the Commission became a multi-member set up, during the period of then CEC T.N. Seshan,” he said.

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