Debating India

Navin Chawla, new poll Commissioner

Sunday 15 May 2005

Special Correspondent

B. B. Tandon will take over as the CEC

- Wrote "an authorised biography" of Mother Teresa

- Became Information and Broadcasting Secretary in June 2004

- Honoured with the Mazzini Award this year

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Navin B. Chawla

NEW DELHI: Navin B. Chawla, an IAS officer of the 1969 batch, has been appointed Election Commissioner to fill the vacancy in the Commission caused by the elevation of B.B. Tandon as Chief Election Commissioner (CEC).

Both Mr. Tandon, who will take the place of T. S. Krishnamurthy, retiring as CEC on Sunday, and Mr. Chawla will take office on Monday.

Mr. Chawla will be the third member, besides Mr. Tandon and N. Gopalaswami.

Under Article 324(2) of the Constitution, members of the Election Commission are appointed by the President on the advice of the Prime Minister. An Election Commissioner enjoys a term of six years or until he/she reaches the age of 65, whichever is earlier. The Commission’s members are entitled to the salary, status and perks of a Supreme Court judge.

The announcement of Mr. Chawla’s appointment was made by Z.S.Negi, Additional Secretary in the Legislative Department of the Ministry of Law and Justice. The May 13 note was made available on Saturday.

Mr. Chawla, now Secretary in the Ministry of Information and Broadcasting, has had a chequered career.

He has written "an authorised biography" of Mother Teresa, which has attracted international attention.

He became Information and Broadcasting Secretary in June 2004 and early this year, he was given the Mazzini Award, instituted by the Italian Government in honour of writer Giuseppe Mazzini.

The award is for promoting cultural ties between India and Italy.

Between 2000-2002, Mr. Chawla was Secretary to the Union Public Service Commission.

Mr. Chawla was to retire on July 31, 2005 from the Government but he will serve in the Election Commission till 2010. He should get elevated as the CEC in April 2009 when Mr. Gopalaswami - who in the normal course should succeed Mr. Tandon - reaches the retirement age of 65.

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