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Gopalswami wants bar on CEC/ECs joining politics
A Correspondent in New Delhi
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February 02, 2009 18:22 IST

For the sake of neutrality of the Chief Election Commissioners and Election Commissioners, CEC N Gopalaswami [Images] wants a bar on their joining any political party for ten years after retirement or taking up any government post.

In a three-page note to President Pratibha Patil [Images] sent on January 16 when he separately recommended the removal of Election Commissioner Navin Chawla, he has sought amendment in the Election Commission Act for the purpose.

He wants the same ratio applied as under the Central Vigilance Commission Act which prohibits the Central Vigilance Commissioner and other Vigilance Commissioners from taking up any diplomatic assignment or appointment to any office of profit in government.

"It does not appear appropriate to have retired CECs and ECs accepting offices under the government and worse still, joining political parties. Both hit at the very root of the principle of neutrality of the CEC and ECs as the general perception would be one of lack of it, in either circumstances.

"One way to articulate a strong sense of neutrality expected of officers, in my view, is to mandate against any post-retirement employment," Gopalswami added.

In quotes in this regard the Supreme Court in the T N Seshan judgment of 1995 that "the agency which is entrusted the task of holding elections to the legislatures should be fully insulated so that it can function as an independent agency free from external pressures from the party in power or executive of the day."

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