In a victory of sorts for Election Commissioner Ashok Lavasa, the Election Commission (EC) on Tuesday decided to record dissent of any member during proceedings of the full Commission.
The decision was taken at a meeting of the full Commission which was called specifically to take on board the concerns expressed by Lavasa after he kept away from the meetings protesting against non-recording of his dissent on the clean chits given by the Commission on the complaints of opposition parties regarding alleged violations of the Model Code of Conduct by Prime Minister Narendra Modi and BJP President Amit Shah.
In the meeting of the full Commission today which was also attended by Lavasa, it was decided that proceedings of the Commission meeting would be drawn including the views of all the Commission members, sources said.
Thereafter, formal instructions would be issued in consonance with the present laws and rules, they said.
The meeting was chaired by Chief Election Commissioner Sunil Arora and other Commissioner Sushil Chandra.
Differences in the Election Commission burst out in the open last week with Lavasa boycotting the meetings of the full Commission over his dissent on crucial decisions not being recorded. Arora sought to downplay the controversy saying all the Commissioners are "not expected to be template or clones of each other".
Arora also said "ill-timed" controversies should be avoided and called a meeting of the full Commission on May 21 to discuss and thrash out issues.
Lavasa, had written a letter to Arora on May 16 even hinting at "taking recourse to other measures" for restoring the "lawful" functioning of the Commission in terms of recording minority decisions.
"I am being forced to stay away from the meetings of the full Commission since minority decisions are not being recorded. My participation in the deliberations of the Commission becomes meaningless since my minority decisions go unrecorded," he said.
Lavasa said he might consider taking recourse to other measures aimed at restoring the lawful functioning of the Commission in terms of recording minority decisions.
"My various notes on the need for transparency in the recording and disclosure of all decisions including the minority view have gone unheeded, forcing me to withdraw from participating in the deliberations of the complaints," he said in the letter to Arora.
The office of the CEC on Saturday released a statement of Arora which said there has been an "unsavoury and avoidable" controversy reported in the media today about the internal functioning of the Commission in respect of the handling Mode Code of Conduct.
This, he said, has come at a time when all the Chief Electoral Officers throughout the country and their teams were geared for the seventh and last phase of polling on Sunday. All of them and the senior officers of the EC headquarters have been working their utmost during the last six phases of elections which barring an odd incident here and there have been largely peaceful and conducted in a fair, free and transparent manner.
"The three members of ECI are not expected to be template or clones of each other. There have been so many times in the past when there has been a vast diversion of views as it can and should be. But the same largely remained within the confines of ECIafter demission of office unless appearing much later in a book written by the concerned ECs/CECs.
Lavasa had opposed and dissented on the clean chits given by the Commission to Modi and Shah over the alleged violations of the Model Code of Conduct by them during their campaign. The Congress and CPI(M) had complained against Modi's speeches invoking the armed forces in the context of the Balakot aerial strikes and on issues relating to minorities.
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