The government on Thursday told the Supreme Court that once a bureaucrat is given a vigilance nod for appointment as secretary, no further clearance is required for empanelment for appointment as Central Vigilance Commissioner.
"Once a person is appointed as secretary on clearance by CVC, he can be considered for empanelment and no further inquiry is required," Attorney General G E Vahanvati submitted before a bench headed by Chief Justice S H Kapadia.
Vahanvati made the submission while responding to various questions by the bench, which also sought his view on the criteria of impeccable integrity required for appointment as Central Vigilance Commissioner.
"Impeccable integrity is an important requirement," Vahanvati said, responding to queries from the bench.
But as the bench asked, "Does it apply to all cases where there is a stigma of chargesheet", the attorney general said, "This is a grey area."
The law officer contended that filing of the chargesheet is not a stigma when the bench posed a question.
The court wanted to know if a bureaucrat, accorded vigilance clearance for appointment as secretary, does not require any further examination for appointment for posts above that of the secretary.
During the hearing, advocate Prashant Bhushan, appearing for the Centre for Public Interest litigation, which has moved the court challenging appointment of P J Thomas as CVC, said various factors about the Palmolein import case were not before the CVC when it gave vigilance clearance to Thomas.
The CVC had not taken into account the chargesheet pending against him, he claimed, adding the issue of sanction for his prosecution by the state government was not brought before the anti-corruption watchdog.
The case diary was also not brought before the CVC, he said, contending that the report of the committee of public undertaking in Kerala was also not presented before it.
"The CVC gave clearance to Thomas only on the basis of the note placed before it by the Department of Personnel and Training," he said.