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Standing the test of impartiality

I read V. Eshwar Anand’s article, “Keep EC above politics: Collegium best for selecting commissioners” (Sunday Oped Page, March 8). While endorsing his viewpoint, I would like to highlight a grey area which has remained ambiguous.

Though the CEC has no suo motu powers to recommend a fellow commissioner’s removal, what would happen if he acts in a biased manner? Should the CEC remain a mute spectator or wait for a presidential reference (read the political executive).

According to the 1993 Act, upheld by the Supreme Court in the T.N. Seshan case, every decision of the poll panel should be taken by a majority amongst the CEC and two ECs, but as it is open to the President to appoint any number of ECs, this would defeat the poll panel’s independence and make it subservient to the government.

The collegium system should be adopted for the appointment of State Election Commissioners (SECs) too.



The CEC and his fellow commissioners should be persons of high integrity and rectitude. They should inspire confidence among the people. This is very important because free and fair elections are the sine qua non of a democratic form of government.

Owing to the recent controversy over the CEC’s suo motu powers under Article 324(5), the present system of appointment of CEC does not seem to be fair; it needs a foolproof procedure.  The Constitution lays emphasis on the ability, knowledge and judgment of the EC, making the capacity/qualifications of the incumbent vital. However, successive governments’ decisions were guided by political considerations.

I agree that the collegium system is best for selecting the CEC and his fellow commissioners.

S.K. KHOSLA, Chandigarh


An insensitive government at the Centre does not seem to think that the incumbent commissioners should command the respect and confidence of the entire electorate.

This would be possible only if the selection process and appointment is foolproof in all respects and the commissioners are persons of high integrity. Whatever the facts, the timing of the CEC’s recommendation for the removal of Mr Navin Chawla is suspect.

Lt-Col CHANAN SINGH DHILLON (retd), Ludhiana


I agree that the Election Commission should be kept above politics. Otherwise, democracy will become a farce.

The President’s rejection of CEC N. Gopalaswami’s recommendation to remove Mr Navin Chawla from the post of Election Commissioner and the latter’s appointment as the next CEC after Mr Gopalaswami demits office on April 20 was not entirely unexpected.

The President always acts on the aid and advice of the Union Council of Ministers. How could one expect Mrs Pratibha Patil to act independently on Mr Chawla’s appointment?


Life of a maestro

In “Men of the millennium” (Spectrum, Feb 15) the author has highlighted how Tansen selected 400 raagas from a huge corpus of prevalent ones and gave them a formal shape. He documented this musical treasure for posterity in the form of granths like Sangeet Saar, Ragamala and Sri Ganesh Stotra.

Tansen had a chequered history. He was dumb till the age of five but regained the faculty of speech with the blessings of sufi saint Khwaja Mohd Gaus who put a portion of his half-chewed paan (betel leaf) in the child’s mouth.

He learnt music at the feet of Swami Haridas in the sylvan surroundings and spiritual environments of Vrindaban, the abode of Lord Krishna.

On completion of his training, he served in the court of Raja Niranjan Singh of Gwalior and later under Raja Ramchandra Bhagela of Rewa. The title of Tansen was bestowed upon him by Raja Vikramjit Singh, son of Raja Man Singh of Gwalior.

Emperor Akbar, on learning about Tansen’s musical virtuosity, sent an army detachment under Jalal Khan Qurchi to bring him to the royal court. Fearing bloodshed Raja Ramchandra bade farewell to Tansen with a parting gift of one ‘crore’ gold coins and a diamond bracelet.

As his fame spread far and wide, Tansen started receiving encomiums from all quarters.

V. K. RANGRA, Delhi



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