India / Supreme Court questioned Center on the appointment of the Election Commissioner Why the appointment in a day

Zoom News : Nov 24, 2022, 03:51 PM
Appointment of Election Commissioner: The Constitution Bench of the Supreme Court reserved its decision on the demand for bringing transparency in the appointment of Chief Election Commissioner and Election Commissioners. On the fourth day of the hearing, the government had to face many sharp questions from the Supreme Court. As directed by the Supreme Court, Attorney General R Venkataramani presented the file related to the appointment of Election Commissioner Arun Goyal in the court. Seeing the file, the court questioned the haste shown by the government in this appointment.

The whole process was completed in just 24 hours!

Justice KM Joseph, who is presiding over the constitution bench, said that on November 18, we were hearing the issue, the same day the file was sent for appointment and the PM approved the name on the same day. What was the need of such haste?

Justice Ajay Rastogi, another member of the bench, also raised the question that the post of Election Commissioner was lying vacant since May 15. You tell what happened between 15 May and 18 November. The whole process was completed within 24 hours from sending the name till its approval.

How were the four names chosen?

The Supreme Court also raised questions on the basis of the selection of four names for recommendation by the Law Ministry and the selection of one name (Arun Goyal) for appointment to this post. The court said that you tell us why the Law Ministry chose only these 4 names. The question is also why you have limited the list for selection to these 4 people only. Apart from these, there are many other senior bureaucrats.

AG's reply

During the hearing, the Attorney General said that there are several grounds for shortlisting these names, such as the seniority of the officers, retirement, and their tenure in the Election Commission. Nothing went wrong in this process as well. Earlier also appointments have been made in 12 to 24 hours. These four names were also taken from DoPT's database. It is publicly available.

'There won't even be a tenure of 6 years'

Even on this, the Supreme Court questioned that even out of these 4, you have chosen the names of such people who will not get even 6 years as Election Commissioner. We expect you to act in such a way that you comply with statutory requirements. You should choose such people who get 6 years tenure in the commission. If you are adamant that no Election Commissioner will get a full term, then you are against the law.

Why was the name of Arun Goyal chosen?

The court questioned on what basis only one name was selected out of the four names sent in the recommendation. We have no problem with anyone (Arun Goyal). He has had an excellent academic record. Our concern is about the process/basis of appointment. A person who was about to retire in December. On what basis did you choose the one who was the youngest among these 4?

AG's objection - Court's reply

During the hearing, the Attorney General also said that the question is whether every small work of the executive will be reviewed. If you doubt every step, it will affect the independence and dignity of the Election Commission. This will also have a bad effect on the opinion of the people about the commission. On this, Justice Joseph told the Attorney General that no one should think that we have made up our mind or are against you. We are only debating and discussing here.