The Supreme Court on Thursday laid down a set of guidelines for appointment of the Central Vigilance Commissioner (CVC) and vigilance commissioners in view of non-compliance of some of the key provisions of the Central Vigilance Commission Act, 2003.A three-judge bench headed by Chief Justice SH Kapadia, which quashed the appointment of PJ Thomas as the CVC, said it would bring about transparency and fairness in the appointment procedure.
The court enlarged the zone of consideration for appointment of CVC and vigilance commissioners, who have been traditionally coming from the civil services. Now, as per section 3(3) of the Act, even persons who had held office or are holding office in a corporation established by or under any Central Act or a Central Government company and persons with experience in finance including insurance and banking, law, vigilance and investigations will have to be considered for appointment.
“All the civil servants and other persons empanelled shall be outstanding civil servants or persons of impeccable integrity,” it added.
While rejecting the argument that the appointment to the commission need not be by unanimity among the members of the committee headed by the PM, the SC said if one member of the committee dissented he/she should give reasons for the dissent. If the majority disagrees with the dissent, the majority shall give reasons for overruling the dissent, it said.
The SC said empanelment of officers shall be carried out on the basis of rational criteria reflected by recording of reasons by the empanelling authority, not below the rank of Secretary to the Government of India in the concerned ministry.
While forwarding names of the empanelled officers/persons, the empanelling authority is required to enclose complete information, material and data of the person concerned. “It would enhance public confidence if the contemporaneous service record and acts of outstanding performance of the officer, even with adverse remarks is brought to the notice of the committee,” it said.