Dissent Opinion Costs: Ashok Lavasa “A Dissenter”

The Election Commission of India is an autonomous body. But the harassment of Ashok Lavasa and his family says different story. Ashok Lavasa (1980 batch Haryana cadre IAS officer) served as a Joint Secretary and Special Secretary in the Ministry of Power, followed by a posting as Secretary in the Ministry of Civil Aviation and then as Secretary in the Ministry of Environment, Forest & Climate change. In May, He was designated Finance Secretary, being the senior most secretary in the Finance Ministry. Ashok Lavasa was appointed Election Commissioner alongside Sushil Chandra and Chief Election Commissioner Sunil Arora.

During 2019 Lok Sabha election Ashok Lavasa was the sole member of commission and refused to give a clean chit to Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Home Minister Amit Shah in the matter of electoral process violation.

BJP leader Gulab Chand Kataria (Udaipur) was accused of making provoke and communal speeches, Lavasa opined that he should be barred from campaigning and FIR filed against him.

Pragya Singh Thakur problematic statement in her area, Ashok Lavasa was the person behind her 72-hour ban.

Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Amit Shah in Latur during campaign make statement where he appealed the first-time voters to dedicate their first vote the martyrs of Pulwama. During Patan(Gujarat) visit Prime Minister Modi to gain votes used defence issues in a politicizing manner.

All the provocative and communal speeches was made by Bhartiya Janta Party which is against the advisory of Election Commission of India. But Election Commission headed by Sunil Arora gave clean cheat to the so called unscientific political party. Fortune always favour the brave ones but in reality a different story “ A dissenter Ashok Lavasa who gave dissenting opinion that the content which is used by National Democratic Alliance was against spirit of the model Code of Conduct and the Representation of the People Act which disallows candidates to invoke religion while seeking votes”.

Ultimately, NDA wins the election and new government formed. Now dissenter had to pay the price of dissent opinion. The harassment of Ashok Lavasa family starts, his wife Novel Lavasa son Abir Lavasa and her daughter Avny Lavasa subjected to multiple rounds of hostile and irrelevant questioning under constant threat of prosecution by the Deputy Director of Income Tax. In 2021, Sunil Arora Chief Election Commissioner retires in April 2021 and following the convention that the senior most Election Commissioner appointed as Chief Election Commissioner. Ashok Lavasa through the traditional convention he should be appointed as a Chief Election Commissioner but the rulling party view him as a “dissenter” and would not like him to become Chief Election Commissioner.

On July, 2020 news came Election Commissioner Ashok Lavasa is set to join Philippines-based Asian Development Bank as Vice President. But Lavasa still has over two years left in his term in Election Commission of India. He would have retired as the Chief Election Commissioner but the government have another plans.

Saurav Kumar, 4th Year B.A.LLB

Central University of South Bihar

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