Constitutional experts criticise CEC’s decision

New Delhi: Noted constitutional experts Shanti Bhushan and K.K. Venugopal have criticised Chief Election Commissioner N. Gopalaswami’s decision to suo motu recommend the removal of Navin Chawla as Election Commissioner.

Mr. Bhushan, a former Law Minister, said Mr. Gopalaswami should have written to the government long ago and not on the eve of the general election. “At this stage to create a crisis of this kind is wholly improper and the Chief Election Commissioner ought to resign.”

Mr. Venugopal said that “such a recommendation at the fag end of his tenure is not permissible.”

Further, the decision taken by the CEC went against the 1995 verdict of the Supreme Court in the T.N. Seshan case. In that case, the court had held that “if the power of the Election Commission was to be exercisable by the CEC as per his whims and caprice, the CEC himself would become an instrument of aggression and would destroy the independence of the Election Commission.”

On the CEC’s power on the removal issue, Mr. Venugopal said, “this power cannot be exercised suo motu by the CEC without the reference being made to him for such removal.” — PTI

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