NEW DELHI: The Supreme Court has stated that the country needs election commissioners (ECs) does not succumb to pressure and must be able to even take on the Prime Minister if required. 

Supreme Court observed that the election commissioners must not be “weak-kneed” yes-men. 

“Suppose the Election Commissioner is asked to take on the Prime Minister… 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 KM Joseph asked the government. 

The Supreme Court stated that the post of election commissioner must go to someone, who could stand firmly on his ground, even by risking his life. 

The apex court said that the election commissioner should not be a person whom the government know would do its bidding. 

“You appoint a ‘yes-man’… Somebody carefully picks him… He is like-minded. He will do whatever is your bidding, and you know it… 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 led the government side. 

Earlier, the court observed that successive governments have “completely destroyed” the independence of the Election Commission of India (ECI). 

On Thursday, the Centre placed the original file of appointment of election commissioner Arun Goel before the Supreme Court. 

The Supreme Court said that the file was cleared with “tearing hurry”.  

“The vacancy of EC arose on May 15 and EC Arun Goel’s file was cleared with lightning speed,” the Supreme Court noted. 

“What kind of evaluation is this. We are not questioning merits of EC Arun Goel’s credentials but the process of his appointment,” the court said. 

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