A Punjab and Haryana high court division bench on Tuesday asked the Punjab government how it justifies restrain on the state vigilance bureau (VB) investigation into corruption and embezzlement complaints against gram panchayats without permission from the department of rural development and panchayats.
The high court bench of justice SS Saron and justice Lisa Gill has asked a law officer of Punjab to ascertain from the government as to how it justified its order of July 2007 issued to the director, Punjab vigilance bureau, conveying to it that its officers were harassing panchayats on the basis of bogus and false complaints.
The court was told that the bureau was conveyed that initial inquiry would be conducted by the department and if a person is found guilty, only then the vigilance department could take action.
The petitioner, advocate HC Arora, had argued that the bureau had been completely gagged and restrained from inquiring into any complaint against any official of the department without getting permission from the department.
In the 1997 Vineet Narain case, the Supreme Court had held that the Central Bureau of Investigation powers to probe the corruption complaints cannot be taken away by the government through an executive order, the court was told stating that Punjab government order was illegal and liable to be set aside.
The petitioner had also cited an affidavit of Punjab in a PIL submitted recently stating that government will not interfere in the independent functioning of the vigilance bureau. The matter would further come up for hearing on December 14.