'The Election Commissioner Mr Navin Chawla will take over as the next Chief Election Commissioner on 20th April, succeeding Mr N Gopalaswami
who retires on that day.
The President Mrs Pratibha Devisingh Patil has approved the name of Mr Chawla for the post. Mr Chawla, an IAS officer of the 1969 batch, will
hold charge till 29th of July, 2010 when he will attain the age of 65 years.
He will be taking over in the midst of the five-phased Lok Sabha elections and will oversee four phases of the polls. Mr Chawla has earlier
served in various capacities in the government, the last being Secretary in the Ministry of Information and Broadcasting.
He has also served as Secretary to the Union Publice Service Commission. He also authored a number of books, including an authorised
biography of Mother Teresa which became popular internationally.
The elevation of Mr Chawla comes after a controversy triggered by Mr Gopalaswami's recommendation to the President for his removal from
office for alleged partisan functioning.
Mr Chawla has been elevated to CEC's post on the advice of the government which had rejected Mr Gopalaswami's plea for his removal, saying
there was no merit in the allegations against the Election Commissioner.
In a related development, Mr Chawla's continuance as Election Commissioner has been challenged in the Supreme Court.
The Apex Court has decided to hear a petition seeking a direction for implementation of recommendations of Chief Election Commissioner N
Gopalaswamy for his removal.
The petition filed by the United Communist Party of India, will be heared by a Bench headed by Chief Justice K G Balakrishnan which on the
20th of this month.
While the Congress welcomed the appointment of Mr Navin Chawla as the next Chief Election Commissioner, the BJP described it as unfortunate.
Talking to AIR, the Congress Spokesman, Mr Manish Tiwari said, that the decision was taken in accordance with the tradition of the Election
Commission to appoint the senior most member for the top slot. He also expressed hope that the elections for the 15th Lok Sabha will be
conducted in a fair and free manner.
The BJP spokesman Mr. Arun Jaitely alleged that political parties have questioned Mr. Chawla's impartiality to hold a Constitutional post.