Supreme Court upholds CVC and VC appointments

By: | Published: July 3, 2018 5:48 AM

The Supreme Court on Monday upheld the appointment of central vigilance commissioner KV Chaudhary and vigilance commissioner TM Bhasin, who were appointed in June 2015 for a period of four years.

sc, supreme courtThe petitions alleged that they did not have a “clean record” and a non-transparent procedure was followed while appointing them.

The Supreme Court on Monday upheld the appointment of central vigilance commissioner KV Chaudhary and vigilance commissioner TM Bhasin, who were appointed in June 2015 for a period of four years.
Dismissing the plea challenging the appointments, a bench led by justice Arun Misra said: “We find no ground to quash the appointments.”

“We have not interfered with the appointments. The complaints against Choudhary were made and they were looked into. It is not for this court to decide on the choice. We are nowadays in the scenario that such complaints cannot be taken on face value. Even against very honest persons, allegations can be made. Those days have gone when filing of the complaints was taken as serious aspersions on integrity. Ideally, there should not be any serious complaint as the filing of same raises eyebrows. As in the instant matter, complaints have been looked into and we decline to interfere,” the apex court said.

It further said that “each and every aspect and information had been placed before the High Power Committee when the decision was taken. Thus, the integrity of the decision­making process has not impinged in this case in any manner whatsoever. Neither decision was taken to appoint Choudhary as CVC can be said to be suffering from any illegality. The decision cannot be said to be influenced by extraneous considerations and the choice made of Chaudhary cannot be said to be such which is amenable for interference by the court in judicial review.”

On Bhasin’s appointment, the apex court said that his recommendation “cannot be said to be suffering from procedural infirmity in decision making. The integrity of the procedure has been maintained.”
Though there was no complaint, the High Power Committee, on the basis of inputs, had looked into the allegation and nothing adverse was found in the final conclusion, thus no case is made out with respect to the appointment of Bhasin as the vigilance commissioner to make interference in judicial parameters, justice Mishra said in its 86-page judgment.

The judgement came on two PILs, one by the NGO Common Cause and others and the other by the Centre for Integrity, Governance and Training in Vigilance Administration, challenging the appointments of Chaudhary and Bhasin.

The petitions alleged that they did not have a “clean record” and a non-transparent procedure was followed while appointing them. They sought quashing of the appointments on the grounds of violation of principles of impeccable integrity and institutional integrity

Many representations were made to Prime Minister Narendra Modi, home minister Rajnath Singh, finance minister Arun Jaitley and Congress leader Malikarjun Kharge giving reasons as to why Chaudhary was “not eligible and suitable for heading the important integrity institution,” the petition stated, adding that a letter was also written to the PM by eminent jurist and Rajya Sabha member Ram Jethmalani and advocate Prashant Bhushan.

Bhushan said Chaudhary’s name had cropped up in the Stockguru scam and also in the controversy relating to visitors to ex-CBI director Ranjit Sinha’s official residence. Similarly, he was investigating cases in the 2G scam and failed to take any action in contrast to action taken by the CBI and the Enforcement Directorate.

The NGO also alleged that Chaudhary had abused his position as member (investigation) in CBDT to under-assess income of a company owned by the controversial Ponty Chadha by `234 crore. Questioning Bhasin’s credentials, the NGO alleged that the CVC had in 2013 indicted him, when he was serving as CMD of Indian Bank, for forging and tampering with the appraisal report of the then general manager of the bank.

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