NEW DELHI: The Supreme Court on Thursday reserved its judgement on a batch of PILs for putting in place Collegium-like mechanism for appointment of Chief Election Commissioner and Election Commissioner.
The court's five judge bench wrapped up its hearings on PILs filed by Anoop Baranwal, Ashwini Kumar Upadhyay, NGO 'Association for Democratic Reforms' and Congress leader Dr Jaya Thakur.
During the hearing, a five-judge bench led by Justice K M Joseph grilled the Union government on criteria adopted by the Law Minister in shortlisting four names from the Department of Personnel & Training (DoPT) database for appointment of an Election Commissioner on November 18, during the midst of hearing in the matter.
It questioned the "tearing urgency and haste" in making appointment of IAS officer Arun Goel as Election Commissioner as the files moved within 24 hours for the purpose.
After perusing the files related to appointment of Goel, the bench, also comprising Justices Ajay Rastogi, Aniruddha Bose, Hrishikesh Roy, and C T Ravikumar, said even among the four names that were shortlisted, the government selected only those who will not get even six years as Election Commissioner.
"You are required to pick up people who should get six years as EC. Now you haven't picked up such people who will get ordinary period of six years as EC either. This is a violation of Section 6 of the Chief Election Commissioner & Other Election Commissioners (Conditions of Service) Act, 1991," the bench asked Attorney General R Venkataramani.
The Attorney General, however, submitted if we started doubting each step, it would have adverse impact on the integrity and independence of the institution called Election Commission of India and the public perception about it.
The court had earlier favoured including the Chief Justice of India in the panel for appointment of CEC and ECs.