Lavasa dissent note disclosure may ‘endanger life or physical safety’: EC
The Election Commission (EC) has refused to disclose under the RTI Act the dissent notes of its Commissioner Ashok Lavasa on decisions pertaining to Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s speeches which were alleged to have violated model code, saying it was exempted information which may “endanger the life or physical safety” of an individual.
The poll body was responding to Pune-based RTI activist Vihar Durve who had demanded Lavasa’s dissent notes, pertaining to speeches given by Modi in rallies at Wardha on April 1, Latur on April 9, Patan and Barmer on April 21 and Varanasi on April 25.
The Election Commission (EC) cited Section 8(1)(g) of the RTI Act exempting the disclosure of information which would endanger the life or physical safety of any person or identify the source of information or assistance given in confidence for law enforcement or security purposes.
Durve had also sought information about the procedure followed and the decision given by the commission with regards to these speeches. This information was also denied citing the Section 8(1)(g) of the act.
Lavasa had reportedly dissented on a series of clean chits given by the commission to the prime minister and BJP president Amit Shah on their speeches.
As his demand to record his dissent notes in the EC’s orders was not met, Lavasa had recused himself from cases relating to relating to violation of the Model Code of Conduct.
The ‘full commission’ of the panel, comprising chief election commissioner Sunil Arora and members — Lavasa and Sushil Chandra —had deliberated on the contentious issue, after which the poll watchdog said dissent notes and minority views would remain part of records but would not be part of its order.