Updated: Thu, 24 Nov 2022 01:42 PM IST
DAY after rapping the Centre over the appointment of Arun Goel as Election Commissioner, the Supreme Court on Thursday questioned Attorney General R Venkataramani, representing the Centre, and said what was the "tearing urgency, haste" in appointing the new EC. The top court further asked the AG "why was the appointment made at a lightning speed".
The Supreme Court's remarks came after the Centre submitted the files related to the appointment of Arun Goel as EC. A five-judge Constitution bench headed by Justice K.M. Joseph after examining the file on Goel's appointment also questioned the criteria adopted by the Law Minister in shortlisting four names from the Department of Personnel & Training (DoPT) database.
The bench shot a volley of questions at the AG to which he contended that the court should not hold a mini-trial on the appointment, however, the bench asked him to explain why the appointment was made with such haste. "Same day process, same day clearance, same day appointment, lightening speed, what kind of evaluation?" the bench asked.
Justice Joseph specifically questioned the AG on the criteria adopted by the Law Minister in picking four names from the DoPT's database.The bench noted that the Minister picked the names and the file was put up on November 18 and moved the same day. The bench told the AG, "Even the Prime Minister recommends the name on the same day. We don't want any confrontation."
It further pointed out that the post was vacant since May 15, and asked the AG to show what prevailed the government to do things at this lightning speed. Justice Joseph reiterated that the court is concerned about a 'yes man' being appointed and asked what is the basis of the Law Minister shortlisting four names from data of hundreds of people following the age criteria.
Questioning Goel's appointment in a super-fast manner, the bench remarked that not even in 24 hours, the process was completed and notified. The top court is hearing a batch of pleas seeking a collegium-like system for the appointment of the Election Commissioners and Chief Election Commissioner (CEC).
The hearing is in progress now. The Supreme Court on Wednesday told the Centre that it wants to see the files relating to Goel's recent appointment and emphasized that it wants to see by what mechanism, "he was picked up", and "there is no danger to produce it (files)".
(With Agency Inputs)