November 29, 2022

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Appointment of Arun Goel as CEC: SC questions Centre ‘fast-tracked clearance of file’

Appointment of Arun Goel as CEC: SC questions Centre ‘fast-tracked clearance of file’

CEC Arun Goel
Image Source : PTI CEC Arun Goel

The Supreme Court on Thursday read the files related to the appointment of former IAS officer Arun Goel as the new Election Commissioner last week and questioned the Centre about the fast-tracked clearance of files. The Apex Court also observed that the file got clearances in “haste” and with “tearing hurry”.

As the apex court observed that the file pertaining to 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.

“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.

Justice Joseph, who was part of the 5-member panel looking into the case, said, “We hear the case on November 18 and on same day you move the file, on same day PM says I recommend his name. Why this urgency? This vacancy became available on May 15. What did you do from May 15 to November 18? What prevailed upon the govt that you did this appointment superfast on one day? 

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Emphasising that the court has nothing against Arun Goel, Justice Joseph said, “There were 4 names that you recommended. Out of vast reservoir of names, how do you actually select a name? We dont have anything against an individual. This man, infact, is excellent in terms of academic. But we are concerned with the structure of the appointment. We are telling you openly you are violating Section 6!. He is the youngest among the 4 names who were recommended. How did you select. We want to know that.”

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 Goel’s name got the nod from the President within 24 hours.

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