Election Commissioner shouldn’t be ‘yes-man’: SC
EC should be a person who would not shirk from even taking on the PM, says Justice K.M. Joseph; court gives the government 24 hours to produce the file of appointment of Arun Goel to the post
The Supreme Court on Wednesday said the country needed Election Commissioners (ECs) who would not shirk from even taking on the Prime Minister if required, and not just “weak-kneed” yes-men.
“Suppose the Election Commissioner is asked to take on none less than the Prime Minister… we are just giving an example… And the Election Commissioner is so weak-kneed that he does not get around doing it. Will it not be a case of complete breakdown of the system?” Justice K.M. Joseph, heading a Constitution Bench, asked the government.
The court said an Election Commissioner should be one who could take a stand even risking his life, and not a docile “yes-man” whom the government knew would do its bidding.
“You appoint a ‘yes-man’... Any government for that matter… Somebody carefully picks him… He is like-minded. You share an affinity of thought and philosophy… He will do whatever is your bidding, and you know it. You assure him security [of tenure]... Well, on the face of it, everything is fine and hunky-dory… But what is the quality required which may be found lacking… the most important quality which is at the core of our debate here — That is, whether the man is really independent!” Justice Joseph addressed Attorney General R. Venkataramani, who is leading the government side.
The court gave the government 24 hours to produce the file of appointment of former IAS officer Arun Goel as Election Commissioner. “If you are in the clear and there is no hanky-panky, there is nothing to fear… You have any problem producing his file?” Justice Joseph asked Mr. Venkataramani.
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