Acute embarrassment for the Congress – Supreme Court strikes down appointmen of PJ Thomas as CVC

The Congress is getting into a number of controversies ever since it got re-elected. After facing a bad time and a huge media outcry over issues such as the CWG scam, the 2G scam, and the Adarsh Housing community, the Congress just got another huge kick in the shin from the Supreme Court over the appointment of the former Telecom Secretary PJ Thomas as the Central Vigilance Commissioner. Ever since the Congress appointed Mr. Thomas as the new CVC, there has been a controversy over the whole issue. At the time of the selection, the rule laid down for the selection is that the Government will provide a list of eligible people for the post, and then a 3 member committee comprising the Prime Minister, the Home Minister, and the Leader of the Opposition would debate these people and appoint the CVC.
The controversy came when PJ Thomas was appointed the CVC and Sushma Swaraj, the leader of the Opposition refused to accept the nomination of PJ Thomas and cast a dissenting vote. However, since the Prime Minister and the Home Minister were in a majority, they refused to take note of the dissent vote and the appointment of PJ Thomas as the CVC was confirmed. However, the fact of the matter is that there remains a case pending against Mr. Thomas in the Palmolein import scam in the Kerala High Court, and with this case remaining pending against him, how could he become the CVC, the person leading the effort against all form of corruption ? For a long time, the Government refused to accept this argument, claiming that a 2/3rd majority was enough for the vote, then claiming that the Court has no real right to get into the decision by the Government, and so on. Eventually, it came about that the Government was trying to get Thomas to resign, but he refused until he was granted some sort of absolution by the Government in the case pending against him.

Finally, after a number of stinging remarks against the actions of the Government, the Supreme Court finally struck decisively, and struck down the appointment of PJ Thomas as the CVC. The argument was that the withholding of information about the case against Thomas was a major problem in the appointment, and hence the appointment “does not exist in law”. This was a severe setback to the Government and to the authority of the Prime Minister, since they have been arguing that all the actions of the Government were right and legal. After the judgment, the CVC put in his resignation and the Government accepted the decision by the Court. (link to article):

The Supreme Court said the touchstone for the appointment of the CVC is the institutional integrity as well as the personal integrity of the candidate. It added that Thomas failed to qualify because of pending cases and several recommendation notings in official files for initiation of disciplinary proceedings against him. The court said any future appointment should not be restricted to civil servants alone but people of impeccable integrity from other fields should also be considered. It rejected the contention of Thomas and the government that the appointment of the CVC cannot be brought under judicial review. SC says legality of the recommendation can be brought under judicial review.

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