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Supreme Court strikes down appointment of CVC P.J. Thomas

Thursday March 03, 2011 01:07:07 PM, IANS

New Delhi: The Supreme Court Thursday struck down the appointment of P.J. Thomas as central vigilance commissioner (CVC) for his alleged involvement in a corruption case, six months after he was appointed to the post.

The court said the appointment made by the high-powered committee, consisting of Prime Minister Manmohan Singh, Home Minister P. Chidambaram and Leader of Opposition Sushma Swaraj does not exist in law.

The apex court gave its verdict on a petition by the Centre for Public Interest Litigation (CPIL) challenging Thomas' appointment.

The petitioner had said that Thomas was facing a criminal chargesheet in a case related to palm oil import in Kerala and he was not an "outstanding civil servant of impeccable integrity".

An apex court bench headed by Chief Justice S.H. Kapadia said institutional integrity and functioning were more important than personal integrity, though both are related.

He said it was incumbent upon the high-powered committee to keep in mind the institutional integrity while making the recommendation of the CVC and it should be according to the law.

The court said that given the statutory independence of the office of the CVC, so that it could work in a free and fair environment without fear or favour, the high-powered appointment committee therefore has to take into account the independence and impartiality of the CVC it was recommending.

The court said the recommendation of the high-powered committee should be an informed one and in harmony with the purpose and policy of 2003 Act on the appointment of the CVC.

Thomas was Kerala's civil supplies secretary in 1992 when the alleged palm oil scam took place. The palm oil case was registered in 1999, accusing Thomas and others of a criminal conspiracy and causing a loss of Rs.2.32 crore to the state exchequer.

They were accused of importing 15,000 tonnes of palm oil from Malaysia at an inflated price for distribution through fair price shops.

Thomas is a 1973 batch Indian Administrative Service officer of Kerala cadre. He has earlier also served as the telecom secretary.

 

 

 

 

 

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