The Punjab and Haryana high court has directed the governments of both states to lay down a procedure for the appointment of vigilance bureau (VB) heads within four weeks, keeping in view the principles laid down by the Supreme Court in the Vineet Narain case in 1997.
The directions came from the division bench comprising chief justice Arjan Kumar Sikri and justice Rakesh Kumar Jain on Thursday on two public interest litigations filed by advocate HC Arora.
The apex court, in the Vineet Narain case, had directed that a committee headed by the central vigilance commissioner, with home secretary and secretary (personnel) as its members, shall make recommendations for the appointment of the CBI director. The committee was further directed to draw up a panel of Indian Police Service (IPS) officers on the basis of their seniority, integrity, experience in investigation and anti-corruption work. The court had also issued directions for considering views of the incumbent director for making the best choice for the post.
The petitioner had sought directions to both state governments to follow a procedure for the appointment of directors of state VBs keeping in view the SC directions in the Vineet Narain case for the appointment of the director of the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI). Arora had submitted that the powers and functions of VB heads in both states were similar to those of the CBI director and VBs were like anti-corruption wings of the CBI.
The petitioner had argued that the posts of VB director were very sensitive and should be occupied by men of utmost integrity. Arora also cited an example of the Punjab VB chief director's post having been earlier occupied by Sumedh Singh Saini (present Punjab director general of police), who was facing serious criminal charges. The court was also informed that in view of the seriousness of cases being dealt with by the VBs, they had been kept directly under the vigilance department under the chief ministers' control.
Arora also suggested the bench that recommendations for the selection of VB heads should be made by a committee headed by the Lokayukta in Haryana and the Lokpal in Punjab.
The case has now been posted for the next hearing on February 14.