Supreme Court’s Description of Election Commissioner’s Appointment

Lightning fast, said the Supreme Court, describing to Centre the appointment of the new Chief Election Commissioner (CEC) Arun Goel amid the ongoing debate over the procedure followed to do so.

“Same day process, same day clearance, same day application, same day appointment. File has not even travelled 24 hours. Lightning fast,” said Justice Rastogi during the hearing of the plea to make the Election Commission an autonomous body.

“On what basis has the Law Minister chosen the four names out of which the PM picked up one name. The chosen one is the youngest. Are these four persons all YES men? this chosen man may be a gold medalist in mathematics but he could be docile,” Justice Rastogi said.

The remarks by the Supreme Court are latest in the series of similar statements that the court has made recently, rapping the government over the “hanky panky” manner in which the CEC was appointed.

The Supreme Court on Wednesday questioned whether it would not be a “complete breakdown of the system” if the Chief Election Commissioner (CEC) does not act against the prime minister in case there are allegations against him.

A five-judge bench headed by Justice KM Joseph is hearing a batch of petitions seeking reforms in the system of appointing election commissioners.

The bench, while highlighting the need for the CEC to be “independent and a man of character”, asked Attorney General R Venkataramani, who was appearing for the centre, “Do you think the election commissioner, if he is asked to take on none less than the Prime minister, we are saying it as an example, can he say no?”.

“Suppose for example, there are some allegations against the Prime Minister and the CEC has to act but he does not act. Will it not be a case of complete breakdown of the system?” Justice Joseph further asked on Wednesday.

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