T. N. Seshan

T. N. Seshan

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T. N. Seshan Profile

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T. N. Seshan Biography

T. N. Seshan was the Chief Election Commissioner of India who served in his office from 12th December 1990 to 11th December 1996. His full name is Tirunellai Narayana Iyer Seshan. He was born in a Tamil speaking Kerala Brahmin family in Thirunellai, Palakkad on 15th December 1932.


He finished his schooling at Basel Evangelical Mission Higher Secondary School and got his graduation at Madras Christian College. Then he studied at Harvard University on Edward S. Mason Fellowship and earned his masters’ degree in public administration.


He accepted teaching job in a college and worked there for three years. He topped the police service examination in 1953 and administrative service examination in 1954 and joined Indian Administrative Service as a trainee in 1955.


He held the posts of Director of Ministry of Atomic Energy, Joint Secretary of Ministry of Space, Secretary of Department of Agriculture in Government of Tamil Nadu, Member of Oil and Natural Gas Commission, Additional Secretary of Ministry of Space, Secretary to the Government of India in Ministry of Defense and Secretary of Internal Security. When he was appointed as the Chief Election Commissioner, he was working as a member of Planning Commission of India.


He introduced innovative electoral reforms and made Election Commission a powerful body. He is transparent and efficient in his proceedings. He contested for the post of President of India in 1997 and lost to K. R. Narayanan. He won the prestigious Ramon Magsaysay Award for Government Service in 1996.


Though he claimed to clean out the corruption, he is not without controversy. He used Reliance aircraft in 1994 to attend a religious function in Kancheepuram and later when he was caught in the glare of public attention, he wrote out a cheque for that.


After his retirement he started Deshbhakt Trust, an NGO forum to organize like-minded people interested in social reforms. He joined Great Lakes Institute of Management, Chennai in January 2008 and teaches courses on leadership, influence and managing power, government and society. 

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Updated: June 26, 2016

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