The Centre has decided not to make public the contents of the controversial letter written by the outgoing Chief Election Commissioner (CEC), N Gopalaswami, recommending the removal of Election Commissioner Naveen Chawla, who is taking over as the new head of the Election Commission on Tuesday. This was disclosed to Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) leader Arun Jaitley in reply to his application for the same under the Right to Information (RTI) Act.
"The correspondence between the CEC and the President has been classified as confidential and being of fiduciary nature is exempted from disclosure under section 8(1) of the RTI Act, 2005," the letter written by Fiaz Ahmad Kidwai, deputy secretary, President's office said.
Jaitley received an identical letter from the Ministry of Law and Justice.
However, BJP leader said he would make an appeal against the decision of the government on this.
"What the CEC had recommended about the EC has to be brought in public domain and the people can not be fed with selective leaks in the media on such important issue," Jaitley said. The BJP leader also said "All options are still open for us on this." Earlier BJP had even threatened to go to the Court on this issue.
However Jaitley criticised the government for sending his application to the President. "There was no need to drag President's office into it," he remarked. In his application under RTI Act, Jaitley had asked the Ministry of Law and Justice to give him copies of the report sent by Gopalaswami to the government against Chawla. He had also asked as to what opinion was given by the government on this issue. The report had brought to fore the tension with the Election Commission at a time when Chawla appeared to be all set to be made the next CEC.