Supreme Court questions appointment process of Election Commissioner Arun Goel

6 days ago 22
Former bureaucrat Arun Goel while assuming charge as the Election Commissioner at Nirvachan Sadan in New Delhi on November 21, 2022.

Former bureaucrat Arun Goel while assuming charge as the Election Commissioner at Nirvachan Sadan in New Delhi on November 21, 2022. | Photo Credit: PTI

The Supreme Court on November 24 questioned the process adopted for appointing Arun Goel as an Election Commissioner (EC), and said his file got clearances in “haste” and with “tearing hurry”.

As the apex court observed that the file pertaining to Mr. Goel’s appointment was cleared with “lightning speed”, the Centre through Attorney General R. Venkataramani asked the court to “hold its mouth” and requested it to look into the matter in its entirety.

A Constitution Bench headed by Justice K.M. Joseph amid a hearing of a batch of pleas seeking a collegium-like system for the appointment of Election Commissioners and Chief Election Commissioner, at the Supreme Court in New Delhi on November 23, 2022.

A Constitution Bench headed by Justice K.M. Joseph amid a hearing of a batch of pleas seeking a collegium-like system for the appointment of Election Commissioners and Chief Election Commissioner, at the Supreme Court in New Delhi on November 23, 2022. | Photo Credit: PTI

“What kind of evaluation is this? Although, we are not questioning the merits of Arun Goel’s credentials but the process,” a five-judge Constitution Bench headed by Justice K.M. Joseph said.

The top-most law officer told the Bench, which was making a volley of comments on the issue, “Please hold your mouth for a while. I request to look into the issue in entirety”.

It perused the original file of Mr. Goel’s appointment as an EC, which was placed before the Bench by the Centre in pursuance of Wednesday’s direction given by the top court.

The Bench said 1985-batch IAS officer Goel got voluntary retirement from service in a single day, his file was cleared by the Law Ministry in a single day, a panel of four names were put up before the Prime Minister and Mr. Goel’s name got the nod from the President within 24 hours.

The Bench is hearing a batch of pleas seeking a collegium-like system for the appointment of ECs and the Chief Election Commissioner.

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