Thomas questions judicial review of his appointment

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New Delhi, Feb 7 (PTI) Embattled CVC P J Thomas todaytold the Supreme Court that his appointment as CentralVigilance Commissioner cannot be subject to judicial reviewand that it does not not get vitiated merely because ofchargesheet pending against him in a corruption case.

Thomas counsel K K Venugopal today put forwardarguments saying that even under electoral law convicted MPsand MLAs continue in their office pending their appeal againstconviction in criminal cases.

However, a Bench headed by Chief Justice S H Kapadia,said "if there is a fact of conviction and if a person isappointed, can we say there can be no judicial review of theappointment.

"Today on account of judicial review, we can evenstrike down Constitutional amendments."

Venugopal argued that the appointment does not getvitiated merely because of the pending chargesheet against theofficial as there is no express provision in the CVC Act todisqualify a person on such ground.

He was responding to the question whether the decisionon Thomas'' appointment is not vitiated by the non-circulationof the relevant materials like the pending chargesheet andgrant of sanction by the Kerala Government in 1999 for hisprosecution.

Venugopal said since the statute qualifies anddisqualifies the eligibility and suitability of the person tobe appointed as CVC, the selection is based on the subjectivesatisfaction of appointing authority.

Government also told the court that the entire file ofcontroversial Thomas was not placed before the members of thehigh-powered panel headed by Prime Minister Manmohan Singhwhich decided the the appointment.

Attorney General G E Vahanvati replied in negativeto a query from the Bench which wanted to know "was the entirefile circulated along with the agenda paper among the memberswho are appointing authority".

Vahanvati, however, said he was not personally awarewhat transpired, what the panel said, what they did and whatwas circulated between the members when the agenda paper wasplaced before them.

He replied by saying "no" when the Bench wanted toknow, was the material relating to the sanction granted forThomas'' prosecution in 1999 placed before the panel. (More)PTI AAC RB RKS

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