Controversy over EC’s internal functioning ‘unsavoury and avoidable’: CEC

Controversy over EC’s internal functioning ‘unsavoury and avoidable’: CEC

Agency News

New Delhi, May 18: Terming as "unsavory and avoidable'' the row erupted in media about internal functioning of the poll panel in respect of handling of Model Code of Conduct (MCC), the Office of Chief Election Commissioner Sunil Arora on Saturday that the diversion of views within the commission should remain within confines of the ECI.

Issuing a statement on Election Commissioner Ashok Lavasa's purported letter to him, the office of CEC said the three members of the Election Commission are not expected to be template or clones of each other, there have been so many times in the past when there has been a vast diversion of views as it can, and should be. ''But the same largely remained within confines of ECI after demission of office unless appearing much later in a book written by the concerned ECs/CECs. I have personally never shied away from a public debate whenever required but there is time for everything,'' the statement said.

The office of CEC said there has been an unsavory and avoidable controversy reported in sections of media today about internal functioning of ECI in respect of handling of Model Code of Conduct.''It needs to be clarified categorically and unambiguously that this is purely an internal matter of ECI and as such any peculation, innuendoes and insinuations in this regard should be eschewed. It also needs to be mentioned that a meeting had already been scheduled on May 21 to discuss this and related matters,'' the statement further added.

Amid widespread criticism from opposition parties that the Election Commission is working at the behest of ruling BJP and Prime Minister Narendra Modi, Election Commissioner Ashok Lavasa reportedly skipped meetings on deciding violation of Model Code of Conduct, citing his 'minority decisions going unrecorded', sources said.

According to sources, in a letter to CEC on May 4, Mr Lavasa said, "I am being forced to stay away from the meetings of the full commission since minority decisions are not being recorded". "I might consider taking recourse to other measures aimed at restoring the lawful functioning of the Commission in terms of recording minority decisions. My various notes on the need for transparency in the recording and disclosure of all decisions, including the minority view, have gone unheeded, forcing me to withdraw from participating in the deliberations on the complaints", he added in the letter.

It is learned that Mr Arora had met Mr Lavasa after the former received the letter. Sources also said that the Commission is considering the decisions on MCC violations as not being 'quasi-judicial' proceedings and hence feels it need not be recorded. UNI