The Supreme Court on Thursday asked the Union government to state the criteria that it used to shortlist the four names that were recommended to the prime minister before appointing Arun Goel to the post of election commissioner last week, Live Law reported.

A Constitution bench headed by Justice KM Joseph is hearing a group of petitions seeking seeking an independent mechanism to appoint election commissioners. On Wednesday, it had directed the Centre to produce files related to the Goel’s appointment.

After going through the files produced by Attorney General R Venkataramani on Thursday, the court asked him what was the urgency to make the appointment within a day of making the recommendation. The bench also asked the attorney general why a person whose term would not last for the mandatory six-year period was named for the post.

Joseph pointed out that the law says a person cannot has to retire at the age of 65 even if his tenure is not over. Under this criteria, Goel will remain in office till December 2027, a year before his tenure ends.

“We don’t have anything against an individual,” Justice Joseph said, according to Live Law. “This man, in fact, is excellent in terms of academics. But we are concerned with the structure of the appointment. On 18th [November] we hear the case, on same day you move the file, on same day, PM [prime minister] says I recommend his name. Why this urgency?”

Advocate Prashant Bhushan, appearing for one of the petitioners, said that there are 160 officers from Goel’s batch who are younger and would have completed their six-year tenure, reported Live Law. He added that not only Goel, but several previous election commissioners have also not served the full term.

Justice Ajay Rastogi pointed out that the post was vacant since May 15, and asked the Centre what actions it took to make the appointment since then till November 18.

“What prevailed upon the government that you did this appointment super fast on one day?” Justice Rastogi said, according to Live Law. “Same day process, same day clearance, same day application, same day. File has not even travelled 24 hours also. Lightning fast.”

In response, Venkataramani said that the process to appoint election commissioners is a quick one, and does not usually go on for more than three days. “The speed of appointment also came because of my consultation as AG [attorney general],” he claimed.

Venkataramani added that he would look into the matter in its entirety, and urged the court not to make any remarks on it for the moment, according to PTI. After hearing the parties, the court reserved its judgement.

Goel, a former bureaucrat, was appointed as an election commissioner on November 19.

His appointment was mentioned during the hearing on Wednesday by Bhushan, who claimed that Goel was given a voluntary retirement from service on November 18 and his appointment was notified the next day. He added that the post was vacant for the last three months.