CVC PJ Thomas Another Blot On UPA Face
The UPA government is making funny arguments to save its face and that of Prime Minister and Home Minister. Any ordinary Indian will ask whether there was no other officer cleaner than PJ Thomas in India for a highly sensitive post. The government baring its fang took on the Supreme Court to defend the palmolin scam-tainted Central Vigilance Commissioner (CVC) PJ Thomas. Filing an affidavit in the Supreme Court this week, the UPA government rejected all allegations levelled against Thomas. It also strongly defended Prime Minister Manmohan Singh and Home Minister P Chidambaram for endorsing Thomas as the CVC in the face of objection by Leader of Opposition in the Lok Sabha Sushma Swaraj, who was part of the three-member committee that elected the CVC. When the decision of appointing of PJ Thomas as CVC was taken, Sushma Swaraj had raised an objection saying he had a tainted record. But owing to some mysterious reasons, Congress party decided to overrule the opposition and decided to go ahead with appointment of PJ Thomas. But by supporting Thomas, the government exposed its real thinking on corruption that too under a very ‘honest’ PM. Or is it that the government thinks that tainted officers only know corruption far better than honest officers? This explains the way it challenged the authority of the apex court to examine CVC’s “suitability”, contending that the decision of a Prime Minister-led committee could not be questioned by it. The government’s move flies in the face of a recent decision by another apex court bench in the 2G scam, which directed Thomas to keep off the monitoring of the multi-crore scam probe being conducted by the Central Bureau of Investigation. The Bench took this stand in view of conflict of interest arising out of the fact that, as the Telecom Secretary, Thomas had opposed CAG scrutiny of government’s controversial 2G spectrum allotment policy. Earlier, Supreme Court lawyer Prashant Bhushan had levelled numerous accusations against Thomas while arguing a PIL in the apex court. Bhushan claimed that since Thomas was chargesheeted in the palmoline export scam while serving as Kerala’s secretary in the State Ministry of Food and Civil Supplies, his appointment would be against norms. But praising Thomas as an officer of “impeccable integrity’, the centre’s affidavit went on to blame the court.
It’s really disappointing and a shame that government has come out in support of scam-tainted CVC. One of the major problems with the Indian system is that the honest and hard working officials, who, instead of preferring the limelight, prefer to do their job, go unnoticed. Instead, the ones in the limelight, for good or bad (mostly the latter) are the ones who are given notice. One such example is that of CVC Thomas. The UPA government said in the affidavit that it is well settled that the question of suitability of a candidate is squarely the domain of the appointing authority. The argument about suitability of a candidate cannot be raised in judicial proceedings. On the majority-decision appointment, which has remained the bone of contention in the PIL, the UPA government replied, “Nowhere in the CVC Act, 2003, it is mentioned that the recommendation made by the committee should be unanimous… As there is no specific requirement of unanimity, the majority view would prevail.” What kind of explanation proffered by the UPA government to our highest guardian of the Constitution! The apex court will not only look into the corrupt judges cases, but also the tainted government officials and even Prime Ministers. The apex court is meant for Indian citizens. So they have every right to question the appointment of corrupt officials. As far as Mr Thomas is concerned, he not only has alleged record, but his opposition to CAG scrutiny in 2G spectrum scam speaks volume. This present UPA government with Moily as the Law Minister shows the audacity in questioning the apex court itself! This amounts to armtwisting of the SC lawyers who are our last resort in the protection to Constitution and the democracy. These are the crude ways of the UPA government to subvert judiciary! For, if the UPA had thought that integrity is necessary, it would not have filed such an affidavit against CVC, who had corruption cases against him. Obviously, the Supreme Court has asked a very valid question. The way the Supreme Court has been questioning the integrity of UPA-2 that only means one thing that this government has lost its credibility with the people and Parliament already. Now even the highest court is questioning its integrity. Against this setting, the common man can very well forget the prospect of the UPA ever delivering an honest governance committed to combat corruption tooth and nail.