CEC Gopalaswami seeks removal of Navin Chawla

January 31st, 2009 - 12:48 pm ICT by ANI  

New Delhi, Jan 31 (ANI): Chief Election Commissioner N. Gopalaswami has demanded the removal of Election Commissioner Navin Chawla over charges of partisanship. He has sent his recommendation to the President, who has forwarded it to the Prime Minister.
The move is being seen in government and media circles as having serious institutional and political ramifications, even as the country is getting ready for general elections to be held in April-May this year.
Chawla is known for his proximity to the Congress party. Two years back, he was alleged to have taken money from the congress politicians for his family trust.
In 2006, BJP submitted a petition to President A.P.J. Abdul Kalam seeking the removal of Chawla from his office under Article 324(5) of the Constitution. BJP Leader L. K. Advani had alleged that Chawla was close to the Congress Party.
When Kalam forwarded the petition to the Prime Minister, the UPA Government found no merit in the BJPs allegations.
Later, the BJP took its demand to the Supreme Court where its arguments seemed to make no headway. It withdrew the petition in August 2007.
In January 2008, the BJP leaders took the matter up with the CEC Gopalaswami who served a notice on Chawla.
However, Gopalaswami has claimed that his adverse recommendation, which comes a whole year after BJPs complaint, is based on his own experience and observations of Chawlas work as Election Commissioner.
In his affidavit submitted to the Supreme Court, Gopalaswami has said that the CEC had suo motu (where an agency acts on its own cognizance) power to recommend the removal of an Election Commissioner.
Gopalaswami will retire as CEC on April 20 and Chawla is expected to succeed him.(ANI)

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