EC decides to keep dissent within a secret, overrules Ashok Lavasa again

The election commission on Tuesday decided by a 2:1 majority that all minority decisions or dissenting views will not be made part of the final orders to be issued in cases pertaining to violation of the model code of conduct.

According to a person aware of the developments, at the full commission meeting which included chief election commissioner Sunil Arora and election commissioners Ashok Lavasa and Sushil Chandra, it was decided dissenting opinions will only be recorded on files, “as it happened earlier”.

HT had first reported that Lavasa, a former finance secretary, had recused himself from all MCC (model code of conduct) related meetings until his demand for inclusion of minority decisions in the final orders of the commission is met.

Also Read | ‘Members not clones’: CEC slams row over Ashok Lavasa dissent, questions timing

“In the meeting of the Election Commission held today, i.e., 21.5.2019 it was interalia decided that proceedings of the Commission meeting would be drawn including the views of all the Commission Members. Thereafter, formal instructions to this effect would be issued in consonance with extant laws/rules, etc,” the poll panel said in a statement.

Disagreement over the procedure followed for deciding MCC cases erupted in the poll panel following Lavasa’s objection to the process followed to give clean chits to Prime Minister Narendra Modi, BJP chief Amit Shah and Congress president Rahul Gandhi.

Also Read | ‘Have no axe to grind’: Ashok Lavasa on Election Commission row

According to a functionary at the poll panel, Lavasa has been insisting on setting a process in place for dealing with MCC cases.

Reacting to Lavasa’s demands, Arora on Saturday issued a statement where he sought to downplay the discord within the poll panel and said the three commissioners are not expected to be clones of each other.

“The three members of the ECI are not expected to be templates 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 and should be,” a statement released by the CEC’s office said.

First Published: May 21, 2019 17:54 IST

Updated: May 21, 2019 — 7:23 pm