CEC recommendation on EC Naveen Chawla not binding: Law Minister

February 2nd, 2009 - 11:24 pm ICT by ANI  

Pratibha Patil

New Delhi, Feb.2 (ANI): The Centre on Monday literally rejected the recommendation of the Chief Election Commissioner (CEC) N. Gopalaswami asking for removal Election Commissioner Naveen Chawla.
Speaking on the sidelines of a conference, the Union Law Minister H. R. Bhardwaj stated that the government had a policy to have the senior most Election Commissioner as the CEC and “our policy continues to be the same.”
Terming the ongoing present controversy regarding ECs termination from the post as “unfortunate”, Bhardwaj said it should not effect Chawla’’s career as appointments in the Election Commission are based on merit.
“We will begin the process to put in place a new CEC well in time” so that the name of Gopalaswami’’s successor is clear before he retires on April 20, Bhardwaj said while adding, “Gopalaswami should do his work in EC and not become a political boss.”
“It is rather unfortunate that when the country is preparing for general elections, such a controversy has been sparked off by him (CEC),” Bhardwaj said, clarifying that a suo motu recommendation by the CEC to the President Pratibha Patil for removal of a commissioner cannot be done.
The CEC has caused “embarrassment” with his comment on his colleague because they (all election commissioners) are equals. The Election Commission should be preparing the election rolls but it’’s unfortunate that he (CEC) has sparked off the controversy, Bhardwaj added. (ANI)

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