CVC clearance to Thomas questioned, SC to frame guidelines

Written by: Pti
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New Delhi, Feb 3 (PTI) Government today faced yetanother day of searching questions in the Supreme Court overvigilance clearance given to P J Thomas, maintaining that theCVC cannot be the final authority in giving final clearance toan official facing corruption case.

The Court also said it would lay down guidelines forfuture appointment to the post of Central VigilanceCommissioner.

"CVC cannot be the final authority," a bench headed byChief Justice S H Kapadia said while questioning the clearancegiven to Thomas by the CVC in 2007-08 for being appointed asSecretary and subsequent empanelment for the post of CVC.

"CVC cannot say that the court might have applied itsmind (while hearing the case) and can the Commission say thereis no merit in the case while giving clearance to an officer,"said the Bench, which also comprised justices K SRadhakrishnan and Swatanter Kumar.

The remarks of the Bench came after submissions weremade by Attorney General G E Vahanvati, who said there was "nostigma" if a chargesheeted officer is considered for the postof CVC.

"The filing of a chargesheet is not a stigma," he saidwhen the Bench asked him "does it not, in normal course, be astigma when a chargesheet is filed against an officer".

Vahanvati made the submission while responding tovarious questions by the bench, which also sought his view onthe criteria of impeccable integrity required for appointmentas Central Vigilance Commissioner.

"Impeccable integrity is an important requirement,"he said.

However, when the Bench asked does the criterion ofimpeccable integrity apply when there is a stigma ofchargesheet, the Attorney General said "this is an area ofgrey".

While Vahanvati was making the submissions, advocatePrashant Bhushan, appearing for the Centre for Public Interestlitigation, which has challenged appointment of Thomas as CVC,said various factors about the Palmolein import case were notbefore the CVC when it gave vigilance clearance to him.

The CVC had not taken into account the pendingchargesheet, sanction for his prosecution by the stategovernment, the case diary, the report of the committee ofpublic undertaking in Kerala and the CAG report on thePalolein import while giving vigilance clearance to Thomas.

"The CVC gave clearance to Thomas only on the basis ofthe two-page note placed before it by the Department ofPersonnel and Training," he said.

At the outset when it was informed by the AttorneyGeneral that there were no guidelines or rules for appointmentof CVC, the Bench said "for future appointment we would laydown guidelines that there should be some procedure". MORE PTIAAC RB RKS

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