Resignation of Commissioner Arun Goyal Leaves Two Vacancies; Only Chief Election Commissioner Remains in Committee

Before Lok Sabha elections, Election Commissioner Arun Goyal has resigned. President Draupadi Murmu has accepted his resignation. The position of Chief Election Commissioner was vacant even before the elections. After Goyal’s resignation, Rajiv Kumar is now the only surviving Chief Election Commissioner. It is noted that apart from the Chief Election Commissioner, there can be up to two more Election Commissioners.

Responsibility of Rajiv Kumar

Now the overall responsibility of the election process lies with Chief Election Commissioner Rajiv Kumar. Arun Goyal had met with many states for election preparations along with the Chief Election Commissioner. However, he suddenly resigned from his position. A notification issued by the Ministry of Law and Justice on Saturday states, “The resignation of Election Commissioner Arun Goyal has been accepted by the President and will come into effect from March 09, 2024.”

Arun Goyal’s Appointment Controversy

Arun Goyal, a 1985 batch IAS officer, had retired voluntarily on November 18, 2022, and was appointed as the Election Commissioner the next day. His appointment was controversial and had led to Supreme Court intervention. During the hearing of this case, the Supreme Court questioned the government as to why Arun Goyal was appointed as the Election Commissioner the day after his voluntary retirement, which seemed suspicious.

Supreme Court’s Intervention

The matter of Goyal’s appointment was also raised in the Association for Democratic Reforms’ (ADR) PIL filed in the Supreme Court, stating that Arun Goyal’s appointment did not comply with the rules. This appointment also violates the autonomy of the Election Commission of India. Additionally, the violation of Article 14 and Section 324(2) of the Representation of the People Act, 1999, was mentioned.

Anup Pandey’s Retirement

Election Commissioner Anup Pandey also retired before the 2024 Lok Sabha elections. Pandey retired on February 15. After this, one position in the Election Commission remained vacant. After Goyal’s resignation, only CEC Rajiv Kumar remains in the commission.

Unclear Reason for Goyal’s Resignation

Arun Goyal’s term as the Election Commissioner was until December 2027, appointed on November 21, 2022. It’s not yet clear why he resigned from his position prematurely.

Niyati Rao

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