The Supreme Court on Monday upheld the appointments of Central Vigilance Commissioner K.V. Chowdary and Vigilance Commissioner T.M. Bhasin almost three years after they assumed office in 2015.
In an 86-page judgment, a Bench of Justices Arun Mishra and Mohan M. Shantanagoudar said allegations could be made against even “very honest persons” and such complaints could not be taken at face value.
The petition, filed by NGO Common Cause in 2015, alleged that the appointments were illegal, void and a violation of institutional integrity.
Justice Mishra, who authored the judgment for the Bench, concluded that “each and every” complaint and information regarding Mr. Chowdary and Mr. Bhasin was looked into by the High-Power Committee led by Prime Minister Narendra Modi. “Those days have gone when filing of the complaints was taken as serious aspersions on integrity. Ideally, there should not be any serious complaint as the filing of same raises eyebrows.,” the Supreme Court observed.
The court also declined a prayer by the NGO, represented by advocate Prashant Bhushan, to prescribe a minimum number of years of knowledge and experience in the field of vigilance for being appointed as CVC or VC.
Link with Sinha
The allegations against Mr. Chowdary included his “connections” with former CBI Director Ranjit Sinha, who came under a cloud for frequently meeting accused persons in the coal and 2G scam cases at his official residence.
The petition had also alleged Mr. Chowdary’s involvement in the Stock Guru scam and that he made no headway in the investigation into the Nira Radia tapes.
No complaint was received against Mr. Bhasin. Requisite clearances were given by the IB with respect to Mr. Chowdary and Mr. Bhasin,” the court observed.