The Supreme Court has observed that the file pertaining to the appointment of Arun Goel, a 1985 batch IAS officer, as the Election Commissioner was cleared at 'lightning speed'. The top court bench headed by Justice KM Joseph on Thursday observed that the vacancy for the new election commissioner arose on May 15 and Goel's file was cleared with ‘lightning speed'. Attorney general R Venkataramani explained the procedure and asked the bench to ‘hold its mouth’ and requested it to look into entirety. Earlier, the Centre placed the original file of appointment of Arun Goel before the SC constitution bench and Attorney General R Venkataramani, appearing for the Centre. "What kind of evaluation is this? We are not questioning the merits of EC Arun Goel’s credentials but the process of his appointment," the court said. Goel, a Punjab cadre IAS officer, was appointed as election commissioner on November 19. He would be in line to be the next poll panel chief after incumbent Rajiv Kumar demits office in February 2025.
Nationalist Congress Party chief Sharad Pawar on Thursday took a swipe at the Centre after it was asked by the Supreme Court if the file for appointing Arun Goel as the new election commissioner was cleared in a haste and ‘in tearing hurry’. The Supreme Court has clearly indicated that it is the misuse of government’s authority in the appointment of Arun Goel as new election commissioner. The person was supposed to retire on a particular day and on the same day giving him extension or clearing his appointment has never happened in the past. It is against the normal system of appointment on a position”, Pawar said.