President rejects move to dismiss Chawla
President Pratibha Devisingh Patil has rejected Chief Election Commissioner N Gopalaswami’s recommendation to remove his colleague Navin B Chawla.Updated: Mar 02, 2009, 01:17 IST
President Pratibha Devisingh Patil has rejected Chief Election Commissioner N. Gopalaswami’s recommendation to remove his colleague Navin B Chawla.
The development assumes significance as the Election Commission is scheduled to meet on Monday and speculations are rife that the poll schedule may be announced.
The CEC, who demits office on April 30, had sent a suo motu report to the President recommending Chawla’s removal based on a BJP petition accusing Chawla of partisan functioning. Chawla is the senior-most Election Commissioner after Gopalaswami and is likely to be the next CEC.
Gopalaswami and Chawla were not available for comment. Senior EC officials, however, told HT that Chawla who has been on medical leave for the past few days is “likely to come join tomorrow”.
On the President’s decision to go with the government recommendation to reject the CEC’s recommendation, Rashtrapati Bhavan spokesperson Archana Dutta said, “The President, after careful consideration of the report of the CEC, the government’s recommendation, constitutional provisions and Supreme Court judgements, arrived at a considered opinion and has accepted the recommendation of the government.”
The BJP, which had accused Chawla of being close to the Congress, has termed the move “unfortunate” and “a political decision on a strictly constitutional matter”. The Congress took the opposite line with senior leader M Veerappa Moily saying “it was but natural (that the President rejected the CEC’s recommendation).”