New Delhi: The Supreme Court on Wednesday asked the Centre to produce before it the file related to the appointment of Election Commissioner Arun Goel, who was appointed on November 19, news agency PTI reported.
As per the report, a five-judge Constitution bench, headed by Justice K M Joseph, said that the court wants to know if there was any “hanky panky” in Goel’s appointment as the election commissioner, as he was recently given voluntary retirement from service.
The Constitution bench further rejected the objections of Attorney General R Venkataramani on the court willing to see the file related to Goel’s appointment while the hearing is underway.
As per Venkataramani, the court is dealing with the larger issue of appointment of ECs and the chief election commissioner (CEC), and it cannot look at an individual case flagged by advocate Prashant Bhushan.
“I take serious objection to this and have my reservation to the court seeing the file amidst the hearing of a Constitution bench,” Venkataramani said.
However, the bench said that it started hearing the matter last Thursday and Goel’s appointment was effected subsequently on November 19 and, therefore, it wants to see what prompted the step.
“We want to see what is the mechanism. We will not treat it as an adversarial and keep it for our record, but we want to know as you claim that everything is hunky dory. Since we were hearing the matter and appointment was made amidst, this may be interlinked. You have time till tomorrow. Produce the documents,” the court told the Attorney General.
It is to be noted that the Government of India on Saturday appointed IAS Arun Goel (Retd.) as the Election Commissioner in the Election Commission.
A 1985 batch Punjab Cadre Indian Administrative Service officer, Goel has served as the Secretary to Government of India.
He retired in August 2019 from the Cabinet Secretariat as Secretary (Coordination). Goel has over 34 years of experience with Centre and State governments as well as with Union Territory Administrations particularly in areas of power, finance, commerce and industry.
Notably, the government made the announcement a day after Arun Goel took voluntary retirement from his role as the Heavy Industries Secretary. He retired as Heavy Industries secretary on November 18.
The IAS officer took voluntary retirement a month before he was scheduled to retire officially. He was to retire on December 31, 2022 after completing 60 years of age.