Ex-Chief Election Commissioner (CEC) TN Seshan passed away aged 86 at his residence in Chennai on Sunday. Seshan, who was the CEC from 1990 to 1996, was widely known for his electoral reforms including the issuance of Voter IDs.
Born as Tirunellai Narayana Iyer Seshan on December 15, 1932, in Thirunellai, Palakkad district, Kerala, TN Seshan was widely known and remembered for his electoral reforms. He was the Chief Election Commissioner of India from 1990 to 1996 and played a major role in drastically ending electoral malpractices in the country.
A 1955-batch IAS officer, he served in various capacities before he was appointed as Secretary of Defence in 1988 when Rajiv Gandhi was Prime Minister. Thereafter, he was promoted to the cabinet secretary, the highest position a civil servant can get, a year later in 1989. However, when VP Singh came to power, Seshan was sent to the Planning Commission. In 1997, a year after he retired as CEC, he contested to be the President of India and lost to KR Narayanan.
An IAS officer par excellence, TN Seshan will always be remembered for the electoral reforms he brought about in India. In 1996, Seshan was awarded Ramon Magsaysay Award for "his resolute actions to bring order, fairness, and integrity to elections in India".