Apex court seeks government answer on Thomas posting as CVC (Second Lead)

Monday, December 6, 2010

NEW DELHI - The Supreme Court Monday issued notices to the central government and Chief Vigilance Commissioner P.J.Thomas on a petition challenging his appointment on the grounds of lack of consensus among selectors on his name.

The court listed the case for final hearing on Jan 27, 2011. All the parties have been asked to complete all the requirements of filing affidavits and rejoinders before the next hearing.

“We don’t want to hear from CVC Thomas that I did not get time to file an affidavit,” said the bench of Chief Justice S.H.Kapadia, Justice K.S.Radhakrishnan and Justice Swatanter Kumar.

The petition challenging Thomass appointment was filed by the Centre for Public Interest Litigation, a voluntary organisation. Appearing for the petitioner, senior counsel Prashant Bhushan offered to make the service of notice by hand so that the matter could be listed or an early hearing.

One of the grounds for challenging Thomas’ appointment as the CVC is that he was appointed in the face of strong objections by Leader of Opposition Sushma Swaraj.

The petition said this was done in disregard of the principle of consensus and unanimity among members of tghe selection committee which is inherent in such sensitive appointments.

Prashant Bhushan said that though Thomas was not directly responsible in the allocation of 2G spectrum licences, he was instrumental in procuring the report from the law ministry justifying the procedure adopted in the allocation.

The petition said Thomas did not satisfy the criterion of an outstanding officer of impeccable integrity for appointment as the CVC as laid down by the apex court in Vineet Narain case on ‘Hawala’ (illegal money transfer) transactions involving important political leaders.

The petitioner said that criminal charges are pending against Thomas in the palm oil import case in early 1992, allegedly favouring a private company.

Under the government of India’s rules, a person could not be considered for promotion or appointment to a sensitive position if criminal charges are pending against him, the petition contended.

The petition also referred to the judgment of the apex court which had reiterated this position in the appointment to sensitive positions.

Filed under: Court, Immigration

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