NEW DELHI: The Supreme Court Tuesday said it would not go into the aspect of “political favouritism” but only examine whether a person appointed to the posts of central vigilance commissioner and vigilance commissioners met the criteria of having “impeccable integrity”.
The apex court was hearing a petition filed in 2015 challenging the appointment of the incumbent CVC, K V Chaudhary, and vigilance commissioner (VC) T M Bhasin alleging that they did not have “clean record” and a non-transparent procedure was followed while appointing them.
Chaudhary was appointed as the CVC on June 6, 2015, while Bhasin took charge as the VC on June 11 the same year.
A bench of Justices Arun Mishra and M M Shantanagoudar sought to know from Attorney General K K Venugopal whether the decision taken by the selection committee comprising the Prime Minister, the Home Minister and the Leader of Opposition was unanimous.
“Yes,” Venugopal said, adding it “was an administrative decision”.
During the hearing, advocate Prashant Bhushan, appearing for petitioner NGO Common Cause, alleged that despite several representations against Chaudhary, the government appointed him as the CVC as he was their he bench, however, observed that the question before it was whether the persons appointed to such posts were of impeccable integrity or not.
“The question is of impeccable integrity and not political favouritism. The person should be of impeccable integrity. We will go into this aspect,” the bench said.
Venugopal argued that extent of judicial review in such matter was “very limited”.
To this, the bench said the matter was related to the appointment of CVC and VC and there were some material which contain “certain observations” about “certain gentleman”.
“We will not sit over the merits. But in this case, your own material show something about it. What should the court do in it? This is a matter of CVC and it cannot be left like this,” the bench said.
Regarding the allegations raised by Bhushan, Venugopal said all these aspects were considered and discussed by the committee before arriving at a decision and the inquiries as alleged by the petitioner were “closed” after deliberation.
However, the bench said, “we would precisely like to know about certain observations regarding certain gentleman in the records”.