Congress terms process for appointing CVC 'unlawful'
New Delhi: The Congress on Wednesday termed the process adopted for appointment of the next Chief Vigilance Commissioner "illegal, unlawful and unconstitutional" and demanded its immediate scrapping.
Congress spokesperson Manish Tewari said the government should initiate a fresh process for appointing the next CVC by inviting applications again. "Unfortunately, what happened yesterday, has completely and absolutely vitiated the process of appointing the next Chief Vigilance Commissioner and a Vigilance Commissioner and the facts, as they stand very clearly and unimpeachably demonstrate that both procedure as well as propriety were absolutely thrown to the winds at the level of the Prime Minister and the Home Minister," he told reporters.
"What we demand is that the entire process needs to be scrapped in its entirety, a de-novo process needs to be instituted, a fresh search committee needs to be constituted, which is not conflicted. Applications need to be invited afresh," he said. Tewari said there needs to be proper consideration of the application of mind and then a panel needs to be sent to the High Powered Committee which should, in terms of propriety, pick one of the people who has been recommended by the search committee otherwise why have a search committee.
He said a man who is neither an applicant whose candidature was not considered by the search committee beyond the applicants and who is not in the shortlist is then cleared for appointment as next CVC.
He also pointed out that one of the applicants and shortlisted persons by the search committee was one of the members of panel itself.
When this was raised, we are informed that the prime minister agreed that the process is vitiated, Tewari said, adding that the Congress member in the high-powered committee Adhir Ranjan Chowdhury raised his strong objections and recorded his verbal dissent on the process and illegalities thereof.
"What does the government do, PM pulls a name from his pocket and appoints Sanjay Kothari as the next CVC, a man who is neither an applicant nor in the shortlist," he alleged.
Tewari claimed that it is clear that the government has a lot to hide and wants the CVC to be a "rubber stamp". He said this is the way institutions are being destroyed in this country and asked whether "we are living in a democracy or a banana republic".
Tewari said the recommendations for the CVC, the panel which was sent to the High Powered Committee, consisted of Ajay Narain Jha, currently a member of the 15th Finance Commission, Rajiv Kumar, Finance Secretary and Bhanu Pratap Sharma, former Secretary DoPT. He said the Finance Secretary was a member of the search committee, an applicant for the post of CVC and the search committee recommends one of its members to be appointed as the CVC.
"This is a complete travesty. How can an applicant be a member of the search committee? This gives him unequal access to the other members and then as member of the search committee, he is adjudicating on his own peers. Now this is absolutely completely unheard of. It is bizarre that you be a judge in your own case," he noted.
Congress chief spokesperson Randeep Surjewala also attacked the government over the appointment of CVC and CIC and alleged there is no place for transparency, accountability and constitutional processes in Prime Minister Narendra Modi's 'New India, which was fatal for democracy.
He alleged that the appointments of CVC and CIC are being made arbitrarily on the lines of "khul ja sim sim" (open sesame).
"Arbitrariness in top judicial institutions is fatal for democracy," he said. Sanjay Kothari, the Secretary to the President, has been selected as the new Chief Vigilance Commissioner by a high-powered committee headed by Prime Minister Modi.