The Supreme Court bench answered many sharp questions to the central government. This time, the Supreme Court appeared unsatisfied with the government’s reply. Regarding the recruitment process of Election Commissioner Arun Goyal, the Supreme Court asked the government clearly, how you did everything in one day.
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The Supreme Court is taking a very strict stance on the appointment process of Chief Election Commissioner and Election Commissioners. After hearing the case again on Thursday, Dr Supreme Court reserved judgment. During this time, the Supreme Court Bench answered many pointed questions of the Central Government. This time, the Supreme Court appeared unsatisfied with the government’s reply. Regarding the recruitment process of Election Commissioner Arun Goyal, the Supreme Court asked the government clearly, how you did everything in one day. You have same day processing, same day withdrawal, same day application, same day appointment. File not moved in 24 hours. Got a lightning fast placement?
1- Everything in just one day?
In response, the AG said that all these factors have been considered. AG said, this is how the work is going on. The convention is working. We cannot conclude that this is a compensation, because it is happening in a certain way. Justice Rastogi said sorry. We are not saying that. Please don’t assume anything. We are in process. Attorney General said, let me ask this question. How fast are the appointments?
2- Why choose most juniors?
The Supreme Court said that the Law Minister had sent the names of 4 people. The question has also been raised as to why the names of these 4 people were sent. Then how the most junior officer was selected from among them. The retired officer also took VRS before coming to this post. The Attorney General said there was no mistake in the process. Earlier also appointments were made within 12 to 24 hours. 4 names taken from database of DoPT. It is publicly available. But why these 4? So why choose the most junior of them? Seniority, retirement, age etc. are considered while taking names. It has a complete system. Seniority is considered on batch basis instead of age.
3- Why so much haste?
Expressing anger, Justice Joseph said, we are hearing the case on 18th, the day you present the file, the Prime Minister said I am recommending his name. Why was this rushed? Justice Ajay Rastogi said that according to you, this vacancy was found on May 15. Can you show us what you did from May 15 to November 18? What happened that the government made this recruitment superfast in one day? Same day processing, same day withdrawal, same day application, same day appointment. File not moved in 24 hours. Got a lightning fast placement?
4- How do you come up with 4 names? What is Aadhaar?
Justice Joseph said, we will ask this question for the last time. And then we’ll stop asking this question. How do you come up with these 4 names? What is Aadhaar? AG again repeated the same answer. In this regard, Justice Joseph said, in the end you are saying that only those people should be appointed who are on the verge of being appointed. So that they don’t get full term of 6 years. Be careful what the law is? You are in violation of Section 6. We say this clearly.
5- How do you choose?
Justice KM Joseph said, we are really concerned about the recruitment structure. Come to your submission. It is said that the names of four people have been recommended based on the kept list. I want to understand how you select a name from a huge pool of names. Let me be blunt. Justice Joseph said, we have nothing against any person. This person is really excellent academically. But we are worried about the recruitment structure.
6- What method have you adopted to filter someone?
Justice Rastogi said, “Look, we are not questioning what you are saying. We are in the system. We just went to the database you mentioned. We saw a large number of officers of the same cadre. You also said that you hire on tenure basis. So that the person gets full term of 6 years. Now the youth are also in the database. We would like to know from you what is the method adopted by you to filter someone from this age factor, this batch etc. AG says there are two ways to look at it. One is that if I want someone, I go for it. The second factor is convenience. In response, the Attorney General said, is there any lens? By which executive will say this person is polite and some will say he is not polite. How do you judge?
7- How did you choose?
Justice Joseph said, first tell me how you decide this list? Justice Joseph asked whether he is going to retire in December or not? He is the youngest of the 4 names that were suggested. How did you choose? We want to know it.
8- How were the 4 names chosen?
Justice Rastogi said, show us. Justice Joseph said, you should understand that it is not contradictory. It is for our understanding. We understand that there is a system, which has worked well. But we want to know how you create this database. AG said, anyone can see this database. It’s public, it’s on the website. Maintained by DoPT. Anyone can see. Justice Joseph said, then how the four names were selected? That’s what we want to know. At the same time, Justice Rastogi asked how the Law Ministry had filtered these names. In response, the AG said, there are specific reasons for this. Since his tenure will be in the Election Commission.
9- Term also needs to be clarified
Justice Joseph said, now this term also needs to be clarified. You see the recruit cannot be just 5 years away from retirement. Because later he has to work as CEC for 6 years. In response AG said, but we have to look at the seniority aspect as well. There is some freedom.
Justice Joseph said, see you say CEC will be appointed for 6 years. Now the CEC is appointed from within the EC. So it means that you have to hire on that basis, so that he gets that much time. The exact opposite of what you are doing now. Not giving so much time. This question was answered in yesterday’s argument, the attorney said. Justice Rastogi said, you are not answering this question. The AG said selection is done on the basis of seniority, retirement etc. Justice Rastogi said, with the help and advice of the Council of Ministers.
10- What is your foundation?
Justice Bose asked whether we get voluntary retirement, notice, appointment etc. What next? The Attorney General said it was a coincidence. He is a person of Punjab cadre. Justice Bose asked, usually this is not the case. In response, AG said, it is normal. He was supposed to retire anyway. Justice Rastogi asked what is your basis?