BJP urges removal of Election Commissioner Navin Chawla

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New Delhi, Jan 30 (UNI) The Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) in a nine page memorandum submitted to the Chief Election Commissioner (CEC) N Gopalaswami has sought the removal of Election Commissioner(EC) Navin Chawla under the provision of Article 324(5) of the Constitution.

The petition seeks a recommendation from the CEC to the President of India for removal of Navin Chawla as an EC under second provisio to Article 324(5) of the Constitution.

It further said Article 324 of the Constitution ensures an independent, non-partisan and fair election commission, which is vested with the authority of ''Superintendence, direction and control'' of elections in the country.

The second provision to article 324(5) provides that any other EC or a regional commissioner cannot be removed from office ''except on the recommendation of the CEC''.

The Constitution, thus, clearly stipulates that whereas the CEC can be removed from office only by an impeachment process but an election commissioner can be removed by the President on the recommendation of the CEC.

The memorandum pointed out that this is being done to ensure an independent authority of the Election Commission so that it could conduct free, fair and impartial elections.

The party submitted that on account of Mr Chawla having a close proximity with the Congress party and its leadership, he lacks fairness and non-partisan approach in dealing with various political parties. The factum of his lack of fairness is best known to the CEC.

The memorandum further pointed out that in the political circle Mr Chawla has been perceived to be an extremely close family friend of Congress president Sonia Gandhi and her family.

Mr Chawla's wife Rupika Chawla and Sonia Gandhi have together undertaken training at the National Museum in a course for Art Restoration. This social cultivation of Ms Gandhi by Mr Chawla and his wife has reaped rich dividend for him. This close proximity has led to their attending social functions at each other's residence.

The memorandum said it would not be improper to point out that Mr Chawla runs the Lala Chaman Lal Education Trust in Jaipur.

The trust has not initiated any activities so far but the same trust has been alloted a six acre plot in Jaipur by the Jaipur Developemnt Authority (JDA) through the then Chief Minister Ashok Gehlot.

The plot has been allotted at a miniscule percentage of the market value. The plot has now a structure built upon it but no activity has been started, donations for construction on the said plot have come from two important Congress MPs' MPLAD funds.

Not only that Mr Chawla got allotted a plot of land at Jasola in here where contributions amongst others have come from three Congress MPs.

Senior Congress MPs have admitted to have contributed to these Trusts due to Mr Chawla's close proximity with Ms Gandhi.

Apart from this Mr Chawla's wife runs a trust and Congress MPs have liberally donated funds to the it.

In view of these facts the CEC should immediately remove Mr Chawla as an election commissioner, the memorandum added.

UNI BKS SP MIR KP1702

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