N. Gopalaswami

N. Gopalaswami
Chief Election Commissioner of India
In office
30 June 2006  20 April 2009
Preceded by B.B.Tandon
Succeeded by Navin Chawla
N. Gopalaswami
President of Vivekananda Educational Society Chairman of Kalakshetra

N. Gopalaswami is a former Chief Election Commissioner of India (CEC) who has been awarded the Padma Bhushan in 2015. He is a 1966 batch Indian Administrative Services officer belonging to Gujarat cadre. He took over the charge of CEC on 30 June 2006 and retired in April 2009. He is currently the president of Vivekananda Educational Society which runs a group of schools in and around Chennai.[1] He was appointed as the Chairman of Kalakshetra for a term of five years starting from October 22, 2014. [2]

Early life and education

Gopalaswami, who hails from Needamangalam, a village in Tamil Nadu did his schooling in Mannargudi and his graduation in Chemistry from St. Joseph's College, Tiruchirappalli.Gopalaswamy is a gold medallist post-graduate in Chemistry from Delhi University and is a diploma holder in Urban Development Planning from University of London.

Early career

Gopalaswamy joined the Indian Administrative Service in 1966 and worked in various capacities in Gujarat. During 1967 to 1992, he held various top level posts including that of the managing director, Gujarat Communication and Electronics Limited; as member (administration and purchase) in the Gujarat Electricity Board; secretary to Government (science & technology) in technical education and Secretary, Department of Revenue.

Earlier he was district magistrate in the districts of Kutch and Kheda; municipal commissioner Surat; director of relief; director of higher education and joint secretary (Home Department), Government of Gujarat.

As a bureaucrat

Gopalaswamy served the Government of India between 1992 and 2004. Prior to his appointment in the Election Commission of India, he was the Union Home Secretary and prior to that, he held the posts of Secretary in the Department of Culture and Secretary General in the National Human Rights Commission.

Gopalaswamy had also worked as adviser (education) in the Planning Commission of India, joint secretary, department of electronics, in charge of software development and industry promotion division and also the head of Software Technology Park of India (STPI) Society and SATCOMM India Society.

Gopalaswamy was appointed as a Chancellor for Rashtriya Sanskrit Vidyapeetha, Deemed University, Tirupati on 21 October 2015 for a term of five years.


During his tenure as the Chief Election Commissioner N Gopalaswami on 31 January 2009 sent his recommendation for removal of Election Commissioner Navin Chawla to the President of India.[3] He alleged that Chawla had discharged his duties as Election Commissioner in a partisan manner, seeking to further the interests of "one party." The CEC report contended that Chawla would take breaks during crucial meetings and secretly talk to functionaries of the Congress party and leak confidential details of the Election Commission.[4] Chawla is also reported to have opposed the Election Commission's notice to Sonia Gandhi for her accepting foreign honours from Belgium.[5]

N Gopalaswami's recommendation against Chawla has been politically controversial.[6] However, the Indian government led by Congress Party (to which Chawla is accused of being favourable), rejected the CEC recommendation against Chawla on 1 March 2009.[7] Thereafter, Navin Chawla took over as CEC of India on 20 April 2009 and concluded the 2009 General Elections to the Parliament of India.

N Gopalaswami moved to Supreme Court in April 2012 alleging a "communal conspiracy" behind the rejection of Army chief General VK Singh's claim for revision of his date of birth. The PIL, filed by retired Navy chief L Ramdas, former chief election commissioner N Gopalaswami, three senior former Army officials and others, said that ex-Army chief JJ Singh, currently the governor of Arunachal Pradesh, masterminded " Operation Moses" to clear the way for Lietinent Gen Bikram Singh to succeed Gen Vijay Kumar Singh.

Personal life

Gopalaswami is noted for his professionalism and sticking to principles and rules. He is a Vaishnavaite with a keen interest in astrology. When the Election Commission started the process of delimitations of constituencies, he (as CEC) suggested that Google maps be used for the arduous exercise. Gopalaswami played a key role in obtaining a grant of Rs 50 million (Rs 50 million) from UNESCO for the preservation of Vedas, the ancient Hindu scriptures.[8]


  1. http://www.vesonline.org/about.aspx. Missing or empty |title= (help)
  2. "Ex-CEC Gopalaswami new chairman of Kalakshetra Foundation". The Hindu. October 22, 2014. ISSN 0971-751X. Retrieved 2015-05-26.
  3. https://web.archive.org/web/20090207161419/http://abclive.in/abclive_investigative_news/navin_chawla_congress_n_gopalaswami_election_commission_india.html. Archived from the original on 7 February 2009. Retrieved 2 February 2011. Missing or empty |title= (help)
  4. "Chawla's loo breaks led to Cong phone calls: CEC". Rediff.com. Retrieved 17 November 2012.
  5. Bharti Jain, ET Bureau 1 February 2009, 01.25am IST (1 February 2009). "CEC accuses Chawla of siding with one party – Economic Times". Economictimes.indiatimes.com. Retrieved 17 November 2012.
  6. Archived 2 April 2008 at the Wayback Machine.
  7. "He lives by the give-nothing-take-nothing rule". Rediff.com. 31 December 2004. Retrieved 17 November 2012.


External links

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