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EC clean chits to Narendra Modi, Amit Shah: Former CECs say complainant has right to know about dissent in decisions

New Delhi: A dissent given by an election commissioner has to be noted in files and the complainant has a right to know whether the order passed by the Election Commission was unanimous, two former chief election commissioners said Sunday.

Amid the controversy surrounding dissent by one of the election commissioners in giving clean chit to Prime Minister Narendra Modi in at least three cases and one to BJP chief Amit Shah, the two said every dissent needs to be out on record.

 EC clean chits to Narendra Modi, Amit Shah: Former CECs say complainant has right to know about dissent in decisions

Prime Minister Narendra Modi and BJP President Amit Shah after the release of BJP manifesto. PTI

"Whether a violation of the Model Code of Conduct is found, the decision is usually communicated to the complainant by a secretary. But the communication should be clear that the decision was made unanimously or by a majority," said one of the former CECs.

He said the dissent note need not be sent along with the communication, but the complainant has a right to know who dissented.

"Like in the case of Supreme Court, the dissent should be uploaded on the Election Commission website," the other CEC said.

He said dissent is part of internal deliberations and is part of a democratic system.

"Had they decided on the complaints when they were received, the present situation would not have arisen," said one of them.

One of the election commissioners, according to sources, gave a dissenting view in the poll body's decision to give a clean chit to Modi with regard to his speech in Wardha on 1 April, where he attacked Congress chief Rahul Gandhi for contesting from the minority-dominated Wayanad seat in Kerala, and his appeal to first-time voters by invoking the Balakot air strikes and the CRPF jawans killed in the Pulwama terror attack in Latur on 9 April.

He had also reportedly given dissent in the clean chit to Shah for his Nagpur speech, in which the BJP chief had said Wayand constituency of Kerala is where majority is minority.

The Election Commission (Conditions of Service of Election Commissioners and Transaction of Business) Act, 1991, states that if the chief election commissioner and other election commissioners differ in opinion on any matter, such matter shall be decided according to the opinion of the majority.

The commission transacts its business by holding regular meetings and also by circulation of papers. All election commissioners have equal say in the decision making of the poll panel.

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Updated Date: May 06, 2019 08:15:04 IST