The Madras High Court on Tuesday ordered notice on writ petitions by the Chairman and Members of the Tamil Nadu Public Service Commission (TNPSC), challenging a G.O. of August this year bringing the Commission under the purview of the State Vigilance Commission and the Directorate of Vigilance and Anti-Corruption (DVAC.) The DVAC conducted searches on the premises of the Chairman and other Members of the Commission on October 14.

The First Bench, comprising Chief Justice M.Y. Eqbal and Justice T.S. Sivagnanam, admitted the petitions and ordered notice returnable in four weeks. In his petition, Chairman R. Sellamuthu stated that Constitutional provisions clearly showed that the founding fathers of the Constitution clearly did not permit any governmental interference in the functioning of the Public Service Commissions. The elaborate procedure for the appointment and removal of Members of the Commission clearly indicated that independence of the agency was paramount.

The petitioner said the impugned order, dated August 9 of the Personnel and Administrative Reforms Department, was issued on a letter by the DVAC to the Personnel and Administrative Reforms Department.

The DVAC had the powers to conduct a preliminary enquiry or a detailed enquiry even without registering any formal complaint or an FIR. By the impugned order, the government had assumed enormous powers over the Commission that were liable to gross abuse.

A Constitution Bench of the Supreme Court clearly held that the Commission should be protected as far as possible from political or personal influence to give it that position of stability and security vital for its successful working. The G.O. nullified the sentiment expressed by the Supreme Court.

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