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» S. K. Mendiratta, Director

SURINDER KUMAR MENDIRATTA

Father’s name        (Late) Shri Tek Chand  Mendiratta

Date of birth           Twenty-second December, Nineteen Hundred and Thirty-nine (22.12.1939)

Place  of Birth        Mianwali

Current Position     Consultant-cum-Legal Advisor to the Election Commission of India

Nirvachan Sadan, Ashok Road, New Delhi - 110 001 (India)

Tel. No. + 91  11    2371 6712 (O)

2599 7872 (R)

2599 9675 (R)    

Mobile No. + 91    98 105 89 575

Fax + 91 11   2335 7542 (O)

Educational qualifications : B.A. (Hons), LL.B

(Stood first in the Constitutional Law at the LL.B.Examination, 1971 and was awarded a  special prize, viz., Sukhdevi Girdhari Lal Grover Prize, 1971, by the University of Delhi )I was also engaged by the Govt. of India in the Ministry of Law and Justice as Secretary to the Committee on State Funding of Elections, which functioned from June, 1998 to December, 1998.  It was a specially constituted high-powered Committee to examine the question of State Funding of Elections in India and to make concrete proposals therefor after studying the systems in vogue in certain foreign countries.  The Committee was headed by a former Home Minister of India (Shri Indrajit Gupta) and consisted of seven other senior Members of Parliament, including the present Prime Minister of India, Dr. Manmohan Singh, and the presentSpeaker of the House of the People (Lok Sabha), Mr Somnath Chatterjee.   

Apart from engagement as Consultant-cum-Legal Advisor to the Election Commission of India, I was also engaged as Advisor to the Delimitation Commission of India, set up by the Government of India under the Chairmanship of Mr Justice Kuldip Singh, a former Judge of the Supreme Court of India, for the re-delimitation of all Parliamentary and Assembly constituencies in India on the basis of 2001 census.

Professional Experience

Worked in the Election Commission of India for more than 45 years – from  21st December, 1964 to 31st December, 1997 (date of superannuation) as regular officer of the Election Commission and as Legal Advisor to the Election Commission of India since 1st January, 1998, after retirement.. 

During the long period of more than 45 (forty-five) years of association with the Election Commission India, I have dealt with every aspect of elections and was confronted with, and came out with satisfactory solutions to, every kind of problem that can arise in the conduct of elections any where; acquired in-depth knowledge and special expertise of all electoral laws, practices and procedures in India and also of several other developed and developing democracies.

On a large number of occasions, acted as the Election Commission’s Special Observer in several States/constituencies where the Commission wanted to keep a closer watch on process of preparation/revision of electoral rolls and sensitive electoral contests.

Also acted as Trainer of Trainers who impart training to returning officers, electoral registration officers, electoral roll enumerators and polling and counting personnel in the field.

Prepared and revised periodically the help literature published by the Election Commission in the form of various Handbooks for electoral authorities, like, Electoral Registration Officers, Returning Officers, Presiding Officers (dealing with the registration of electors, preparation/revision of electoral rolls and the actual conduct and management of elections in the field), and for candidates, their polling agents and counting agents.

Handled all legal affairs of the Election Commission of India, including electoral reform legislation and all litigation work of the Commission before the Supreme Court and High Courts in India, since 1979

Played an important role in the development and production of Electronic Voting Machines in India and in the evolution of scheme of photo identity cards for nearly 700 million electors in India.

Services lent by Election Commission specially on several occasions to various statutory bodies, like, the Institute of Chartered Accountants of India, Institute of Company Secretaries of India, Bar Council of Delhi, Lalit Kala Academy, various Indian Universities, to assist them in the conduct of elections to their governing bodies held under the highly technical system of proportional representation by means of single transferable vote.

Publications

Wrote a comprehensive book (1434 pages) titled  ‘How India Votes:     Election Laws,  Practice and Procedure’ with Mrs. VS Rama Devi, former Governor of Karanataka and Himachal Pradesh; the book deals exhaustively with all aspects of elections in India with relevant laws and case law and was released by the Election Commission of India in January 2001 as part of its Golden Jubilee Celebrations; it has been published by M/s LexisNexisTM Butterworths (India) Ltd, a subsidiary of the English Company which publishes the Halsbury’s Laws of England and has been  acclaimed, both nationally and internationally, as an authoritative work on Indian electoral system. Recently, I have brought out a revised Second edition (pages 1631) of that book in January 2007 as the first edition has been totally sold out.

Also, wrote volume 16 of Halsbury’s Laws of India, containing electoral laws published by M/s LexisNexisTM Butterworths (India) Ltd. in December, 2003. The second edition of that book., revised and edited by me, has also been recently published in 2008.

Recently, I have also authored another book titled ‘All You Want to Know About Indian Elections’. which has also been published by M/s LexisNexisTMButterworths Wadhwa (India) Ltd. in March, 2009.

Foreign Experience

Local Government Elections in Republic of South Africa, 1995

Selected by the Commonwealth Secretariat at London as Adviser for Local Government Elections in the Republic of South Africa which were held there on 1stNovember, 1995.  Accordingly, served as a Member of the UK-Australia-Commonwealth Technical Resource Group for Community Elections, 1995 in South Africafrom  August, 1995 to  November, 1995. 

Parliamentary briefing on electoral reforms in Republic of Malawi

Acted as Resource Person and Facilitator for the Parliamentary briefing arranged by the Electoral Commission of Malawi in conjunction with the International Foundation for Election Systems  (IFES), Washington  at Lilongwe (Malawi) on 28th February, 1998, in connection with amendments to Electoral Laws of Malawi, then pending consideration before Malawian Parliament. The briefing was attended by, among others, 30 representatives (MPs) of all parties represented in Malawian Parliament, NGOs and other parties not represented in Parliament, representatives of IFES, UNDP and NDI (National Democratic Institute, Washington) and the full Electoral Commission of Malawi.

International Workshop on ‘Financing of Political Parties and Political Campaigns’ at Seoul (South Korea), June 2001    

Participated, as a special invitee from India, in the above workshop convened jointly by the National Endowment for Democracy (NED), Washington and Sejong Institute of South Korea at Seoul on 28th to 30th June, 2001.

International Workshop on “Money and Democratic Elections” at New Delhi. November 2001 

Participated, as a special representative of Election Commission of India, in the above workshop convened jointly by the Commonwealth Sectt., London, International Institute for Democracy and Electoral Assistance (IDEA), Stockholm, Confederation of Indian Industry (CII) and Election Commission of India at New Delhi from 23rd to 26th November, 2001. 

International Consultative Meeting on ‘Global Guidelines for Reviewing a Legal Framework of Elections’ at Stockholm (Sweden), May, 2002 

Participated, as a special invitee from India, in the above meeting convened by the International Institute for Democracy and Electoral Assistance (IDEA), Stockholm at Stockholm (Sweden) on 6th and 7th May, 2002. The global guidelines drawn on the basis of the deliberations of the meeting have been finalised by IDEA and circulated to all concerned throughout the world.

United Nations-Commonwealth sponsored Team of Election Experts for reform of Electoral System in the Republic of Nigeria, July 2003.

Participated in the above team sent to Nigeria from 8th July, 2003 to 24th July, 2003 to examine the electoral laws and electoral system in the Republic of Nigeria and to suggest improvements therein.  The team submitted its report to the United Nations, Commonwealth Sectt.  and the Independent Electoral Commission of Nigeria on the completion of its visit on 24th July, 2003.

Delegation of Election Commission of India to Royal Kingdom of Bhutan, September, 2003.

Sent by the Government of India as one of the three member delegation of Election Commission of India led by Shri J.M. Lyngdoh, the then Election Commissioner of India, to Royal Kingdom of Bhutan in September, 2003.  The delegation had detailed deliberations with His Majesty the King of Bhutan, Prime Minister, Finance Minister and other ministers, the Chief Justice (Chairman) and other members of the Drafting Committee of the Constitution of Bhutan to build and strengthen democratic institutions in Bhutan, including its Parliament.  Subsequently, I also assisted the Chief Justice (Chairman) in drafting the Elections Act of Bhutan. 

Presidential Election, 2004 in Afghanistan under the auspices of United Nations

Appointed by the United Nations as one of the five International Members (Election Commissioners) of the Joint Electoral Management Body (JEMB) of Afghanistan, Kabul constituted by the United Nations to conduct the first ever Presidential Election in Afghanistan under the Bonn Agreement on the basis of universal adult suffrage. Served the JEMB in the above capacity (Election Commissioner) for six months from May, 2004 to November, 2004.

Consultant to the Royal Government of Bhutan under the auspices of United Nations

At the request of the Chief Justice of Royal Kingdom of Bhutan (Chairman of the Drafting Committee for the Constitution of Bhutan), I had prepared a draft Electoral Law for Bhutan (running into 434 clauses).  In August-September, 2005, I was invited by the United Nations Development Programme as Consultant to Bhutan for 15 days for clause by clause discussion on the said Electoral Law with the Chief Justice and other officers concerned.  The draft Law so finalized is now under consideration of Parliament of Bhutan.

Made another visit to Bhutan from 22nd May to 27th May, 2006 as part of the Election Commission’s delegation for further discussions in the matter. During my this visit, and the subsequent visits of the Election Commissioners and other officers of the Bhutan Election Commission, I have vetted the drafts of their various proposed laws relating to registration and recognition of political parties, state subvention to political parties, conduct of referenda under their Constitution, delimitation of constituencies, registration of voters, etc.  

Consultant to the Independent High Electoral Commission of Iraq for their Orientation Workshop in New Delhi in June, 2007

At the request of the United Nations Electoral Assistance Division, New York to me, I was instrumental in arranging the Orientation Workshop  for the nine Electoral Commissioners of the Independent High Electoral Commission in New Delhi in May-June, 2007 under the aegis of the UN, Indian Election Commission and Indian Ministry of External Affairs. The UNDP appointed me as Consultant and Resource Person for the said Orientation Workshop. 

Consultant to the Independent High Electoral Commission of Iraq for their Workshop on ‘Election Security’ in New Delhi in June, 2009

I was again instrumental in arranging the workshop on Election related security for the Independent High Electoral Commission of Iraq, at the initiative of the United Nations Electoral Assistance Division, New York from 8th to 30th June, 2009 under the aegis of the UN, Indian Election Commission and Indian Ministry of External Affairs. The UNDP appointed me as Consultant and Resource Person for the said Workshop. 

Interaction with foreign delegates visiting India during 2008-10

During 2008-10, a large number of delegates of foreign countries visited India to study electoral system of India.  Particularly, in connection with the last concluded general elections to the House of the People and certain State Legislative Assemblies held in April-May, 2009, which evoked world-wide interest, and the Diamond Jubilee Celebrations of the Election Commission, the Commission received several delegations consisting of Electoral Commissioners and other senior officers of about 40 countries, like, Afghanistan, Bangladesh, Bhutan, Mauritius, Nepal, Philippines, Sri Lanka, United States of America, United Kingdom, IDEA, etc. and senior journalists from various countries in Asia, Africa and Europe.  I had to interact with each of those delegations as representative of the Election Commission of India to explain and answer their queries with regard to election laws, practices and procedures of India.

     

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