For the third day in a row the government Attorney General (AG) for India R Venkataramani faced tough questions as the Supreme Court scanned the system to appoint Election Commissioners and the Chief Election Commissioner.
The Court questioned what deliberation could have been done to finalise a name within 24 hours, without the apparent mandatory aid and advice of the Council of Ministers
Bench raises doubt that , The file was put up on November 18, moves the same day. Even PM recommends the name on the same day. We don’t want any confrontation, but was this done in any haste?
What’s the tearing hurry?” “This vacancy became available on May 15. Show us from May to November, what prevailed upon the government to do things superfast? “We are being blunt. If all these four names are carefully chosen, as ‘yes men’ – we are concerned with the process of selection.
Another tough question Attorney General faced, ‘Was there any criteria for the Law Minister to pick those 4 names? Now, if you are hell-bent that no one who will get a full term gets appointed, then you are against the statute.”
A Constitution Bench comprising Justices KM Joseph, Ajay Rastogi, Aniruddha Bose, Hrishikesh Roy and CT Ravikumar wondered what deliberation could have been done to finalise a name within 24 hours, without the apparent mandatory aid and advice of the Council of Ministers.
Justice Rastogi asked “Where is the aid and advice of the council of ministers gone in Arun Goel’s appointment?”
The AG R Venkataramani pleaded, “Let us not get into that question today.” When Justice Rastogi asked why not, the Attorney General responded saying,
“If we start doubting every appointment, look at the implications for the institution’s reputation.”
Article 324 of the Constitution provides for the President to make the appointments to the Election Commission of India.
Article 74 provides that the President, in the exercise of their functions, has to act in accordance with the aid and advice of the Council of Ministers.
Advocate Prashant Bhushan argued that since his interim application seeking a stay on appointments to the ECI was filed well before the short-listing of names, Goel’s appointment should only have been subject to the top court’s directives in the present case.
Supreme Court reserve its order in said above matter.