EC Rejects Plea For Recording Dissent
The EC decided that the dissent will only be included in internal files.
“In the meeting of the full Commission held today, regarding the issue of MCC, it was inter alia decided that proceedings of the Commission meeting would be drawn, including the views of all the Commission members. Thereafter, formal instructions would be issued in consonance with the present laws and rules,” the Commission said after a meeting of the full poll body to discuss the issue.
Lavasa, who had raked up the issue and kept away from full Commission meetings protesting against the non-recording of his dissent on clean chits given by the other two Commissioners on alleged poll code violations by Prime Minister Narendra Modi and BJP President Amit Shah, attended the meeting today but is understood to have recorded his dissent.
Today’s decision was also believed to have been carried by 2-1 majority.
Chief Election Commissioner Sunil Arora and other Commissioner Sushil Chandra constituted the majority view. Lavasa had written to Arora last week conveying his decision to skip the meetings of the Commission his views were not recorded and incorporated in the orders.
An EC official said there was no such precedent. According to existing rules, only the majority decision in case of non-quasi judicial issues like the MCC is communicated to the parties concerned the opposing views is only recorded in files, he said.
Differences in the Election Commission burst out in the open last week with Lavasa boycotting the meetings of the full Commission over his dissent on crucial decisions not being recorded.
Arora sought to downplay the controversy saying all the Commissioners are not expected to be “template or clones of each other”.
Arora also said “ill-timed” controversies should be avoided and called a meeting of the full Commission on May 21 to discuss and thrash out issues.
Lavasa, had written a letter to Arora on May 16 even hinting at “taking recourse to other measures” for restoring the “lawful” functioning of the Commission in terms of recording minority decisions.
“I am being forced to stay away from the meetings of the full Commission since minority decisions are not being recorded. My participation in the deliberations of the Commission becomes meaningless since my minority decisions go unrecorded,” he said.
Lavasa said he 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 of the complaints,” he said in his letter to Arora.
The office of the CEC on Saturday released a statement of Arora which said there has been an “unsavoury and avoidable” controversy reported in the media today about the internal functioning of the Commission in respect of the handling MCC.
This, he said, has come at a time when all the Chief Electoral Officers throughout the country and their teams were geared for the seventh and last phase of polling on Sunday.
All of them and the senior officers of the EC headquarters have been working their utmost during the last six phases of elections which barring an odd incident here and there have been largely peaceful and conducted in a fair, free and transparent manner.