In a Thursday ruling, the Supreme Court questioned whether there was any “tearing urgency” to fill the position after IAS officer Arun Goel was appointed Election Commissioner last week. Following the Centre’s instructions, a 5-judge Constitution bench reviewed the original file of appointment.
As Attorney General Venkataramani represented the Centre at the hearing, he told opposing counsel to hold their mouths. The issue should be thoroughly investigated,” reported the PTI news agency.
Read top quotes from the Supreme Court hearing on Arun Goel’s appointment as Election Commission chief
🔴 Arun Goel’s file was cleared with “lightning speed” after the Election Commission vacancy arose on May 15.
🔴 This is some evaluation, isn’t it? As a bench, we are not questioning EC Arun Goel’s credentials, but the process by which he was appointed.”
🔴 The truth is out there for everyone to see. The Supreme Court ruled that the Centre violated Section 6 [of the 1991 Election Commission Act].
🔴 Answer the court’s questions and listen carefully to what it says. The bench told the AG, “We’re not focused on individual candidates, but on the process.”.
🔴 Ajay Rastogi, Aniruddha Bose, Hrishikesh Roy, and CT Ravikumar sat on the bench during Wednesday’s hearing. The bench asked. ‘How was this officer chosen?’ the bench questioned. If the court is considering the matter, can this be done?”
🔴 According to the court, the Centre should provide the files related to the appointment of this officer by Wednesday. In other words, if you claim no hanky-panky, you have nothing to fear.”
🔴 On Tuesday, the Supreme Court said a CEC should have “character” and “not allow himself to be bulldozed”, and a person such as former CEC T N Seshan only occurs occasionally. To ensure “neutrality”, the Indian Chief Justice was proposed for inclusion on the appointment committee.
Besides the Chief Election Commission, there are two Election Commissioners on the poll body. After Sushil Chandra retired in May, a vacancy arose. EC Anup Chandra Pandey and CEC Rajiv Kumar also sit on the panel. In February 2025, Kumar will leave office, and Goel could become the next CEC. The term of his appointment would be five years.
(With inputs from PTI and Bar and Bench)