SC allows Centre to appoint CVC VC

New Delhi: The Supreme Court on Wednesday lifted its embargo and allowed the Centre to go ahead with the appointment of Central Vigilance Commissioner (CVC) and a Vigilance Commissioner from the list of candidates shortlisted by it.

The two posts have been lying vacant for past few months and the apex court had on December 17, 2014 asked the Centre to take its prior “leave” before going ahead with the appointment for which 10 candidates each have been shortlisted after scrutinising 130 applications received in response to the advertisement issued in this regard.

“Keeping in view the urgency for appointment of the CVC and vigilance commissioner, the posts which have been vacant since last few months, we allow to make the appointments,” a bench comprising Chief Justice H L Dattu and Justices Arun Mishra and Amitava Roy said.

The bench directed that after making the appointments, Attorney General Mukul Rohatgi will place before it the entire records and materials including the list of candidates who applied for the two posts.

Further, the bench clarified that it will be open for all the parties to come up with their contentions.

At the outset, Rohatgi submitted that the government has started the procedure for appointment of CVC and a Vigilance Commissioner and a committee of three Secretaries — Cabinet Secretary, Finance Secretary and Secretary of Department of Personnel and Training — has shortlisted candidates keeping in mind total transparency needed for the process.

“The purpose of transparency has been achieved and now the appointment process is at the final stage,” he submitted, adding that the idea is to have a person of highest integrity.

The Attorney General said the stage has come when the PIL filed on the issue required to be closed and anyone having any grievance can move  the apex court later.

Advocate Prashant Bhushan, appearing for the NGO which had filed the PIL, raised some objections to the appointment of the Committee comprising three secretaries, saying the procedure adopted was contrary to the law that envisaged a panel comprising the Prime  Minister, Leader of Opposition and Home Minister for the purpose.

However, the bench said those having any grievance can approach the court.

The Attorney General also said the committee comprising the Prime Minister, Leader of Opposition and Home Minister will take a final view on the appointments.

The bench was hearing a PIL filed by NGO Centre for Integrity, Governance and Training in Vigilance Administration alleging that the government was going ahead with the appointment of CVC and VC without giving wide publicity to the vacancies arising following completion of tenure of CVC Pradip Kumar and the then VC J M Garg.

Kumar and Garg completed their tenure on September 28 and September 7 respectively last year.

The apex court had earlier rapped the Centre for lack of transparency in the selection process of CVC and VC, following which government gave the assurance that no final decision will be taken without its nod.

The Supreme Court had said lack of transparency in selection process of CVC and VCs promoted “favouritism and nepotism” and had asked why only bureaucrats were picked for the posts and not common people.

Explaining the selection process, the Attorney General had submitted that the Cabinet Secretary and 36 other secretaries proposed the names of 120 people for the posts.

Out of those 20 names were selected and then the names of shortlisted five were forwarded to the selection committee.

The PIL had referred to the July 21, 2014 letter issued by the Secretary, Department of Personnel and Training (DoPT), to Secretaries in the government to suggest names for empanelment for the post of CVC and VC, allegedly aimed at keeping away common people.

The NGO had contended the Centre ought to have similar procedure for making appointment of CVC and VCs as is being done for filling up the post of chairperson and eight posts of members in the Lokpal under the provisions of the Lokpal and Lokayuktas Act, 2013.


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