Chief Election Commissioner Navin Chawla on Wednesday said he wanted to uphold the “principle” followed in the Election Commission that no communication between the CEC and the President be made public as it was a privileged document.
“I don’t want to deviate from this stand and allow a privileged document to be made public,” he told The Hindu here.
Mr. Chawla was replying to a question why he refused permission to the President’s Secretariat to release to RTI activist S.C. Agarwal a copy of the letter written by the then CEC, N. Gopalaswami, to the President in January last year seeking his (Mr. Chawla’s) removal as Election Commissioner.
(Later Mr. Chawla was elevated CEC when Mr. Gopalaswami completed his term.) Mr. Chawla said even Mr. Gopalaswami opined that a communication between the CEC and the President was a “privileged document” and could not be made public when journalists asked him for copies of his letter.
“In fact, Mr. Gopalaswami did not even mark copies to me and another Election Commissioner S.Y. Quraishi then.”
Mr. Chawla, in a letter sent through his office, refused permission to the President’s Secretariat for releasing Mr. Gopalaswami’s letter when his views were sought as per the directions of the Central Information Commission. For, he was the third party in the communication and the content was about him.
Mr. Gopalaswami had written to the President seeking Mr. Chawla’s on the “propriety” of Mr. Chawla continuing as EC and sought his removal on the alleged ground of partisanship.