SC bench recuses from hearing plea challenging appointment of Arun Goel as EC

Arun Goel
Arun Goel, a 1985-batch IAS officer of the Punjab cadre, assumed charge as Election Commissioner on November 21. Photo: ANI

A Supreme Court bench headed by Justice KM Joseph on Monday recused from hearing a plea challenging appointment of Arun Goel as Election Commissioner.

A bench of Justices Joseph and BV Nagarathna said, “List the matter before another bench”.

Before the bench recused from hearing, the top court questioned NGO Association for Democratic Reforms for challenging Goels appointment and asked it to show which rules were violated. It said after the appointment of a person to a constitutional post, presumptions cannot be made that he will act unfairly, arbitrarily or will be “yes man”. The bench said the petition has relied on a March 2 verdict of the apex court which had ruled that the appointment of the Chief Election Commissioner and ECs will be done by the President on the recommendation of a committee, comprising the prime minister, Leader of the Opposition in Lok Sabha and the CJI, to maintain the “purity of election”.

In the lengthy verdict, the five-judge bench had said it was mystified as to how bureaucrat Goel applied for voluntary retirement on November 18 last year if he was not aware about the proposal to appoint him as an Election Commissioner. During the hearing, advocate Prashant Bhushan, appearing for the NGO, said the appointment process of Goel was malafide and arbitrary and four officers were selected out of a pool of 160 across the country and many of them were younger to Goel.


He said the selection process adopted by the government was questionable.

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