RTI reply on Election Commissioner Ashok Lavasa's dissent note could endanger life: ECI
Information sought by India Today Group with regards to the opinion of each of the election commissioners that was looking into the Model code of conduct (MCC) violations during Lok Sabha elections 2019, has elicited a very strange reply from the Election commission of India (ECI).
During the time when Model Code of Conduct (MCC) was in force, the Election commission had received many complaints over some of the speeches made by Prime Minister Modi and Union Home Minister Amit Shah.
The commission consisting of Chief Election Commissioner (CEC) Sunil Arora, and Election Commissioners Sushil Chandra and Ashok Lavasa had given clean chits to PM Modi and Amit Shah.
However, it was reported that Ashok Lavasa had expressed dissent over the ECI clean chits to four speeches of PM Modi and one of Amit Shah. Lavasa had later gone on to ask the ECI to make his dissent public.
The ECI had refused to make the dissent public but said that it would be part of the record and thus could be obtained under Right to Information (RTI).
India Today thus sought the opinion of each of the election commissioners who had looked into the violations.
India Today asked, "Please share the decision of the Election Commission on the provocative speeches made by political leaders in 2019 general election campaign when the MCC was applied".
India Today also asked, "Please share notings of the opinion of CEC Sunil Arora election commissioner Sushil Chandra and election commissioner Ashok Lavasa on the speeches made by PM Narendra Modi and BJP president Amit Shah."
To this, the ECI cited Rule 8(1)(g) of the RTI Act and said that the diclosure of the information will endanger the life of any person.
"The information sought cannot be disclosed under the Rule 8(1)(g) of the RTI Act, 2005, the disclosure which will endanger the life or physical safety of any person or identify. The source of information or support is given in confidence for law enforcement or security purposes,"
Former CEC Shailesh Gandhi, on hearing about the Election Commission's reply, said, "This is laughable. They are not even able to think of any exemption. Whose safety can this endanger? Unless they think some BJP person will bash up Lavasa."