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EC Says Dissent View in Model Code Violation Cases Can't be Part of Order

Representative Image

Representative Image

On May 21, the Election Commission had rejected with a majority vote Election Commissioner Ashok Lavasa's demand that dissent notes should be recorded in its orders on model code violations.

New Delhi: The Election Commission has issued a formal order making it clear that dissent views will not be made part of orders relating to model code violation cases, an issue which had led to acrimony among the top brass of the poll panel.

The office order, issued on June 4, states that only the majority or unanimous view will be part of orders in such cases.

On May 21, the Election Commission had rejected with a majority vote Election Commissioner Ashok Lavasa's demand that dissent notes should be recorded in its orders on model code violations.

The 'full commission' of the panel, comprising Chief Election Commissioner Sunil Arora and two other members -Lavasa and Sushil Chandra- deliberated on the contentious issue, after which the Commission said that dissent notes and minority views would remain part of records but would not be part of its order.

The office order now puts the decision in black and white.

The order states that while Lavasa has maintained that minority view should be mandatorily made part of the order and thus be put in public domain, Arora and Chandra are of the view that the final order should only reflect the majority or unanimous view of the panel.

They have maintained that orders in model code violation cases are executive or administrative in nature, therefore, there is no scope to add a dissent view.

Officials said any dissent view will be recorded in the files of the Commission and people can go through it using the Right to Information Act.

Citing the law which states that the EC should try to take decision unanimously to the extent possible, else by way of majority, the order said since Arora and Chandra are against including dissent views in orders relating to model code violations, only "final decision" "whether arrived unanimously or by way of majority" will be reflected in such orders.

Lavasa had dissented on at least five out of 11 clean chits given by the Commission to Prime Minister Narendra Modi and BJP president Amit Shah on their speeches during the election campaign.

As his demand to record his dissent notes in EC's orders was not met, Lavasa recused himself from cases relating to relating to violations of model code of conduct.

In a strongly-worded letter to Arora on May 4, Lavasa is learnt to have said that he is being forced to stay away from the meetings of the full commission since minority decisions are not being recorded.

The EC had maintained that the dissent notes cannot be made part of the order as the poll code violation cases are not quasi judicial in nature and that they are not signed by the chief election commissioner (CEC) and fellow commissioners.

"They are like executive orders. They are summary decisions where decision is taken by the EC without hearing out counsels of the two parties. The orders are brief which are not signed by the three commissioners," explained an official.

Such orders are usually signed by the concerned principal secretary or secretary of the EC, the official said.

According to the law governing the functioning of the EC, efforts should be to have unanimity but in cases of dissent a majority (2:1) view prevails.