Wednesday May 23, 2018
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CVC to fast-track trial of errant bureaucrats, amends process of granting sanction to prosecute

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By NewsGram Staff Writer

Taking a strong pitch against corrupt government officials under probe by CBI, the Central Vigilance Commission has decided to amend the process of granting sanction for fast-tracking trial against government officials, thereby reducing delays in deciding on such requests.

The practice of holding a meeting with the department of the official facing the allegations, which often delays granting of sanction, will be given up.

This will be followed by dismissing appeals against the CVC’s decision to grant prosecution sanction unless fresh material is produced.

Stressing the need to expedite decision-making on requests of sanction for proposal and  sticking to the time limit of three months for grant of sanction or otherwise, the CVC iterated that “competent authorities take unduly long time in deciding these matters”.

A circular issued by the  CVC on April 16 stated, “The Commission, on a review of the existing mechanism has decided to dispense with the mechanism of holding joint meetings with the representatives of CBI and the department concerned and henceforth, all such matters of difference of opinion would be dealt and resolved by the Commission on the basis of available documents.”

The new circular proposes resolution of disputes over prosecution sanction between investigation agencies and departments on the basis of available documents and tentative views of the department concerned.

Further more, the circular said, “The concerned ministry/department is required to refer the case to the commission for reconsideration only in exceptional cases when new facts come to light. The commission has observed that generally no new facts come out during these meetings (joint meetings) and there are considerable delays on the part of department/organizations.”

In its order in the Vineet Narain and others Vs Union of India case, the Supreme Court had set three months as the period for grant of prosecution sanction and another month where legal opinion is required from the attorney general.

Despite the SC orders, there has been a consistent trend of delay in sanction to prosecute officials facing allegations of corruption.

According to CBI officials, most of the cases against government officials remain pending due to non-grant or delay in sanction for prosecution.

The circular has also directed the department concerned to give its views regarding  the action to be taken against the official within three weeks, while dealing with cases of non-presidential appointees,

According to the latest statistics available from CBI, 17 requests for prosecution sanction are pending beyond four months. Some of the requests are pending since 2012. The requests are pending with different departments including department of personnel and training, home ministry, ministry of defence, IDBI Bank, Bank of India, State Bank of India and South Delhi Municipal Corporation.

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Another Deadline Missed, No Draft Scheme on the Cauvery Dispute Till Now

On the expiry of the six-week deadline, the Centre sought extension of time till the completion of the electoral process in Karnata for submission of the Scheme.

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The court said that even if the Centre has not framed the scheme, Karnataka, under the Cauvery Water Dispute Tribunal award, was obliged to make monthly releases to Tamil Nadu.
Supreme Court of India. Wikimedia commons

The Centre yet again failed to submit a draft Scheme on the Cauvery river water dispute before the Supreme Court on the ground that the Prime Minister and other ministers were campaigning in Karnataka, which Tamil Nadu flayed as “brazen partisanship”.

Seeking 10 more days to finalize the scheme, Attorney General K.K. Venugopal told Chief Justice Dipak Misra, Justice A.M. Khanwilkar and Justice D.Y. Chandrachud: “A draft scheme has been placed before the Cabinet. Because of Karnataka elections, the Prime Minister and all other Ministers are in Karnataka. Before that the Prime Minister was abroad (in China).”

It also sought response from the Centre on the steps taken by it since the pronouncing of the judgement for putting in place a scheme for implementing its order on the sharing of Cauvery water among Karnataka, Tamil Nadu, Kerala and Puducherry.
Parliament of India, wikimedia commons

The Centre’s submission was countered strongly by senior counsel Shekhar Naphade, appearing for Tamil Nadu, who said: “Sorry to say, the Central government is politicizing the issue. They are worried about their electoral fate in Karnataka. Election in Karnataka is on May 12 and somehow they don’t want to do it till then. We have enough of it. It is brazen partisanship of the Union of India. It is the end of co-operative federalism.”

The apex court in its February 16 judgement had directed the Centre to frame a Scheme within six months in accordance with the recommendation by the Cauvery River Water Tribunal for constitution of the Cauvery Management Board (CMB) and Cauvery Regulatory Authority (CRA), which Karnataka opposes strongly.

On the expiry of the six-week deadline, the Centre sought extension of time till the completion of the electoral process in Karnata for submission of the Scheme. Tamil Nadu filed a contempt petition against the Centre for failure to act within the deadline.

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During Thursday’s hearing, the court directed the Karnataka government to respond on how much of the four TMC of water it can release by month end. It also sought response from the Centre on the steps taken by it since the pronouncing of the judgement for putting in place a scheme for implementing its order on the sharing of Cauvery water among Karnataka, Tamil Nadu, Kerala and Puducherry.

In the course of the hearing, the court asked Karnataka to release 4 TMC of water by Monday.

The court said that even if the Centre has not framed the scheme, Karnataka, under the Cauvery Water Dispute Tribunal award, was obliged to make monthly releases to Tamil Nadu.

The court directed the next hearing of the matter on Tuesday. (IANS)