The current controversy surrounding Election Commissioner Shri Navin Chawla reminds me of a conversation I had had with Benazir Bhutto when she visited Delhi during the NDA regime. She had lunch with me that day and she shared with me a delicious dish of Sindhi curry, which my wife Kamala prepares excellently.
In the post lunch chat we had that day, I posed a question to Benazir: â€śHow is itâ€ť I asked her, â€śthat though both Indiaâ€™s as well as Pakistanâ€™s political leadership had imbibed a similar political culture under British rule, India had managed its democracy with remarkable success but in Pakistan democracy had been a total failure.â€ť Benazirâ€™s reply was succinct: â€śI attribute your countryâ€™s success to two factors: firstly, your Army is apolitical; and secondly, your Election Commission is constitutionally independent of the Executive.â€ť
Benazir had rightly identified the two guarantees for Indian democracy. For the first of these â€• the Indian Army never nurturing political ambitions of any kind â€• the credit goes entirely to our armed forces and those who have led it since independence, while credit for the Election Commissionâ€™s independence must be given to the Constituent Assembly.
There were, however, eminent participants in the Constituent Assembly debate on Art. 324, who wanted the Election Commission to be invested with even greater independence than given to it. These members did not approve of the fact that the Click to Read More
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