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Ashok Lavasa Skips EC Meetings Over MCC Row, CEC Arora Responds
Ashok Lavasa Skips EC Meetings Over MCC Row, CEC Arora Responds

New Delhi, May 18 (TIWN): Dissenting election commissioner, Ashok Lavasa, has been recusing himself from meetings of the “full commission” of the Election Commission – also comprising Chief Election Commissioner (CEC) Sunil Arora and election commissioner Sushil Chandra – since 4 May, according to reports.

Lavasa’s decision reportedly comes in the wake of the poll body taking a decision on 3 May that PM Narendra Modi and BJP president Amit Shah did not violate the Model Code of Conduct (MCC), without recording his minority decisions.

According to NDTV, Lavasa wrote to CEC Arora on 16 May raising concerns over the poll body’s decision-making process, stating that he was being “forced to stay way from the meetings” since his minority opinions were going unrecorded in the larger decisions of the commission. 

Also Read: EC Clean Chit to PM’s Controversial Speeches Not Unanimous: Report

What is Lavasa Reported to Have Said in His Letter?

“It appears futile for me to participate in the deliberations of the commission until its lawful functioning is restored in terms of including the minority decisions recorded by me,” he reportedly wrote in his letter.

The Hindustan Times reports that Lavasa sent his first letter to the CEC on 4 May, and has sent numerous reminders since then to include minority decisions or dissents in final orders of the EC. Since 3 May, the Election Commission has not made any decisions on violations of the MCC. NDTV’s Sreenivasan Jain reports that the CEC ignored three letters from Lavasa over ten days – on 4 May, 10 May and 14 May – which is when Lavasa wrote his letter of 16 May to him.

Lavasa is reported to have also written that he might consider resorting to other measures “aimed at restoring to the lawful functioning of the Commission” as far as minority decisions were concerned.

NDTV has reported that CEC Arora called Lavasa in for a meeting after the letter was sent to him, in which he tried to explain that minority views are recorded only in orders of quasi-judicial proceedings. However, MCC violations are not quasi-judicial proceedings, and thus, do not mandate the recording of minority decisions.

CEC Sunil Arora’s Response

CEC Sunil Arora issued a statement to ANI on the controversy.

He has not denied the reports but says that there has been “an unsavoury and avoidable controversy reported in sections of the media today about internal functioning of Election Commission of India in respect of handling Mode[l] Code of Conduct.”

Arora says that the “three members of ECI are not expected to be template or clones of each other” and that this has meant there are often differences of opinion: “There have been so many times in the past when there has been a vast diversion of views as it can and should be.”

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