President approves appointment
New Delhi: Election Commissioner Navin Chawla will take over as the next Chief Election Commissioner on April 20, succeeding N. Gopalaswami, who will retire on that day. Mr. Chawla, an IAS officer of the 1969 batch, will hold charge till July 29, 2010 when he will turn 65.
“The President has approved the appointment of Navin Chawla as the Chief Election Commissioner with effect from April 20 on completion of the tenure of N. Gopalaswami,” a Rashtrapati Bhavan communique said here on Wednesday.
He will be taking over in the midst of the five-phase Lok Sabha elections and will oversee four phases. The elevation of Mr. Chawla, who was appointed Election Commissioner on May 13, 2005, comes after a controversy triggered by Mr. Gopalaswami’s recommendation to the President for his removal from office for alleged “partisan” functioning.
Mr. Chawla has been elevated to the CEC’s post on the advice of the government, which rejected Mr. Gopalaswami’s plea for his removal, saying there was no merit in the allegations against the Election Commissioner. The Chief Election Commissioner enjoys a term of six years or till the age of 65, whichever is earlier. Mr. Chawla has earlier served in various capacities in the government during his career, the last being Secretary in the Ministry of Information and Broadcasting. He has also served as Secretary to the Union Public Service Commission (UPSC).
Mr. Chawla has authored a number of books, including a biography of Mother Teresa that became popular internationally. He is also a recipient of the Italian government’s Mazzini Award, instituted in honour of writer Giuseppe Mazzini, for his contribution to promote ties between India and Italy. — PTI