Why praise TN Seshan

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KK Sethi
One does not know why former Chief Election Commissioner TN Seshan is being remembered. In my view, he was the worst Chief Election Commissioner, who took arbitrary decisions and played with normal rules and regulations. some of his idiosyncrasies were:
1. He directed the returning officers not to declare the election results unless he cleared it. He could not have changed the verdict of the voters but he could assert his authority.
2. After the assasination of former Prime Minister Rajiv Gandhi, he posptponed the entire elections for a period of three weeks without any autnority to do so.
3. He directed the State governments not to use the electoral rolls and ballot boxes for local minicipal and panchayat elections, as if they were his personal property. The state governments had to prepare the electoral rolls and buy new ballot boxes  involving unnecassary expenditure.
4. When the government appointed two election commissioners, he used the government money to file a case in Supreme Court against the appointments. He spent government money to oppose the government orders.
5. There was a rule which said a non-member of the State Legislative Assembly should become a member within six months to remain a minister. He used this provision to humiliate chief minister of madhya pradesh. He even made him sit with the pso and driver in the front seat of his car while travelling from Bhopal to Indore. (later the rule was changed to make it obligatory to hold elctions within six months of vacancy arising).
6. He wanted the chief secratary of a state to give an undertaking that there would be no violelnce during the elections. He even threatened to postpone the elections unless this certificate was given.
Many other instances of his high-handed behaviour can be listed but these should be enough to dissuade people from praising him.

KK Sethi

About the author: KK Sethi is a retired bureaucrat who is highly respected for his commitment to the larger cause of society. He has held several important posts and was Chief Secretary Manipur and President Board of Revenue in Madhya Pradesh. As Commissioner for Linguistic Minorities, he had presented to the President of India, the forty-fourth Annual Report under Article 350- B (2) of the Constitution. For the implementation of the constitutional provisions and Nationally Agreed Scheme of Safeguards provided to linguistic minorities, the report recommends action to be taken by the Central Government and various State Governments / Union Territory Administration, to assuage the feelings of the linguistic minorities.


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