On RTI, EC refuses to share dissent notes on Modi’s election speeches

The EC's refusal to disclose Lavasa's dissent notes comes just weeks after the poll body rejected by a 2-1 majority.

By Author  |  Published: 25th Jun 2019  2:04 pm
File Photo: PM Narendra Modi

New Delhi: The Election Commission (EC) has refused to disclose dissent notes of its member Ashok Lavasa in connection with Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s speeches during campaigning for Lok Sabha elections, in response to an RTI seeking the same.

The EC stated that disclosing the notes would endanger the life or physical safety of the individual.

Section 8(1) (g) of the RTI Act, 2005 pertains to information, the disclosure of which would endanger the life or physical safety of any person or identify the source of information or assistance given in confidence for law enforcement or security purposes.

The EC’s refusal to disclose Lavasa’s dissent notes comes just weeks after the poll body rejected by a 2-1 majority. Lavasa’s demand that dissenting views on model code violations during elections should be made part of orders and decided it will be only included in internal files.

“In the meeting of the full Commission held today, regarding the issue of MCC, it was inter alia decided that proceedings of the Commission meeting would be drawn, including the views of all the Commission members. Thereafter, formal instructions would be issued in consonance with the present laws and rules,” the Commission had stated after a meeting of the poll body to discuss the issue.

A number of complaints regarding violations of the model code of conduct, which came into force on March 10, had cropped up in the run-up to general elections in the country. The model code was lifted on May 26, after the culmination of the seven-phase electoral exercise.

Last month, Lavasa had opposed and dissented on the clean chits given by the Commission to Narendra Modi and Home Minister Amit Shah over the alleged violations of the model code of conduct by them during their election campaign.

The Congress and CPI (M) had claimed that Modi’s speeches invoking the armed forces in the context of the Balakot aerial strikes and on issues relating to minorities were in violation of the model code of conduct.