SC seeks files from Centre related to Arun Goel’s appointment as EC

NationalSC seeks files from Centre related to Arun Goel’s appointment as EC


New Delhi: The Supreme Court on Wednesday told the Centre that it wanted to see the files related to the recent appointment of Arun Goel as Election Commissioner. The apex court also wanted to see by what mechanism “he was picked up,” and “there is no danger to produce it (files).”

Lawyer Prashant Bhushan, representing a petitioner, raised the issue of the appointment of Goel, a sitting secretary, who was given voluntary retirement on Friday. The appointment order was issued on Saturday. He started working as EC from Monday, Bhushan said, adding that he had filed an application in connection with the appointment and the court was hearing the case, but the government made the appointment.

He pointed that the Centre appointed someone in a single day and wanted to know the process and the safeguards they had followed at the time of making the appointment.

A five-judge Constitution bench, headed by Justice KM Joseph heard the case. Bhushan said that there was an intervention application in connection with the vacancy and the Centre appointed a person as an EC.

Justice Joseph then told Attorney General (AG) R Venkataramani to produce the files related to the appointment of this officer. He told the AG if there is not illegality “then you shouldn’t afraid” and “if everything is going on smoothly, then show us the file.”

When the AG said, “I don’t think we have to travel that far,” Justice Joseph said the court will not sit in judgment on appointment and “we want to see that file, unless you claim some privilege … we want to see how things work.”

The apex court orally observed that the order of appointment was made, after it started hearing the case on Thursday. Bhushan filed an application in connection with the vacancy. The other members of the bench are Justice Ajay Rastogi, Justice Aniruddha Bose, Justice Hrishikesh Roy and Justice CT Ravikumar. The bench told AG to bring the file with him on Thursday and if he feels he should not disclose it, then he should let the bench know about it.

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