The Central Vigilance Commission, the country’s anti-corruption watchdog, has miserably failed in guarding whistleblowers against corruption which has led to serious victimization in some cases, according to former Chief Justice of India, R.C. Lahoti.
In a letter to UPA chairperson Sonia Gandhi on behalf of the India Rejuvenation Initiative (IRI), a forum for probity in public life, Justice Lahoti has pointed out that the CVC has been rendered ineffective with two of its three posts lying vacant since seven months.
“Two posts of vigilance commissioners are lying vacant since seven months, and we understand Pratyush Sinha, the Chief Vigilance Commissioner will also demit office in two months,” wrote Justice Lahoti.
Justice Lahoti, in an earlier letter to Prime Minister Manmohan Singh, had cited “unhappy experience of a few whistleblowers, who had dared to expose corruption in their organisations, but had to suffer for their acts of courage.”
The former CJI has referred to the case of a former deputy chairman of Kandla Port Trust, Manoranjan Kumar. “He reported gross wrongdoings to the CVC in 2007 and had to lose his job, while the guilty went unpunished,” said Justice Lahoti.
In the second case, Raj Kumar, a stenographer in the Sports Authority of India, had to face departmental inquiry, after he filed a petition in Punjab & Haryana High Court, alleging corruption in his department.
“The high court issued notices to the Sports Ministry and the CVC for their failure to act on his complaint, but the guilty escaped unpunished,” according to Justice Lahoti, the founder member of the IRI.
According to the IRI, CVC could not escape the responsibility of allegedly having compromised the confidentiality of the whistleblowers.
The organisation has slammed the procedure of appointments in the CVC for its failure. “So long as this procedure continues, we will keep getting appointments which provide a perfect alibi for the government and frustration for the citizens.”