SC asks Centre to furnish files pertaining to appointment of Arun Goel as Election Commissioner
The Supreme Court said it wants to go through files pertaining to the recent appointment of Arun Goel, a former bureaucrat, as the Election Commissioner.
- Arun Goel took Voluntary Retirement from Service (VRS) on Friday.
- He was appointed as the Election Commissioner the very next day.
- The hearing of the EC appointment will continue on Thursday.
The Constitution bench of the Supreme Court on Wednesday said it wants to go through files pertaining to the recent appointment of Arun Goel, a 1985 batch IAS officer, as the Election Commissioner.
A five-judge bench headed by Justice K M Joseph, who is hearing petitions seeking an independent mechanism to appoint the election commissioners, asked Attorney General R Venkatramani to produce files pertaining to Goel's appointment on Thursday.
Advocate Prashant Bhushan, appearing for the petitioner, submitted that Arun Goel took a Voluntary Retirement from Service (VRS) on Friday and the very next day, he was appointed as the Election Commissioner.
Goel assumed office on Monday after the Centre brought out an order notifying his appointment as the Election Commissioner.
Bhushan told the bench that this particular post had been lying vacant since May and that he had filed an application seeking interim orders against Goel's appointment.
At this, Justice Joseph asked the Attorney General as to what is the reason for such hurried appointment when the application is pending before the bench.
While registering his objection over making an issue of Goel's appointment being juxtaposed into this case, Venkatramani said, "I strongly oppose this way of bringing the things when court is considering much larger issues."
To this, Justice Joseph said, "We heard the case last Thursday. At that stage, Mr.Bhushan said there is an interim application. Then the next hearing took place yesterday (Tuesday). Therefore, we would like you to produce the files relating to the appointment of this officer. So that if you are in the right, as you claim, that there is no hanky-panky, then there is nothing to fear."
Justice Joseph said that the court would like to know what is the mechanism that is being followed to appoint the election commissioners.
"We don't think it is a matter where you should be withholding information. We are living in an open democracy", Justice Joseph told the Attorney General.
During the hearing, Venkatramani argued that a 1991 Act ensured the Election Commission remains independent in terms of salary and tenure of its members and there is no trigger point, which warrants interference from the court.
To this argument, the bench remarked, "Suppose the government appoints a Yes Man, who has the same philosophy and is like-minded. The law provides him all the immunity in tenure and salary, then there is no so-called independence in the institution. This is an election commission, where independence should be ensured at the threshold."
The day-long hearing remained inconclusive and will continue on Thursday as well.
Courtesy: India today