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CVC, VC appointments challenged in SC

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New Delhi The Supreme Court on Wednesday was  moved for quashing of the appointment of Central Vigilance Commissioner K.V. Chaudhary and Vigilance Commissioner T.M. Bhasin, on grounds that their appointments were in breach of “institutional integrity”.

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The petition by NGO Common Cause and many eminent people sought the court’s declaration that the appointments were “illegal and void” as they violated the principles of “impeccable integrity” and “institutional integrity” spelt out by the apex court in earlier judgments.

Even before Chaudhary’s appointment, the petition said, many representations were made to Prime Minister Narendra Modi, Home Minister Rajnath Singh, Finance Minister Arun Jaitley and Congress leader Malikarjun Kharge giving reasons as to why Chaudhary was “not eligible and suitable for heading the important integrity institution”.

A letter was written to the prime minister by eminent jurist and Rajya Sabha member Ram Jethmalani and lawyer-activist Prashant Bhushan.

Bhushan in his letter said Chaudhary was in-charge of investigating the allegedly illegal account holders in foreign countries for almost three years, and until the apex court appointed the SIT on black money, there was almost no progress in the income tax investigation under him.

“At the time the SIT was formed, the Income Tax Department had not filed even a single prosecution case against HSBC account holders,” said the PIL about Chaudhary.

It said Chaudhary was investigating the tapes of corporate lobbyist Niira Radia, and did not take any action on evidence available with him.

Similarly, he was investigating cases in the 2G scam and failed to take any action in contrast to action taken by the CBI and the Enforcement Directorate.

However, despite representations questing Chaudhary’s suitability, the government went ahead to appoint “their favoured candidate”, it said.

The PIL said Bhasin was appointed Vigilance Commissioner despite being “indicted in a detailed inquiry by the Central Vigilance Commission in 2013 for forging and tampering with appraisal report of the then general manager of the Indian Bank, which is a criminal offence”.

The CVC had undertaken inquiry against Bhasin after a man named Malay Mukherjee complained to the Commission on July 11, 2011, that his annual performance appraisal report was tampered with.

After an inquiry, the commission found that Mukherjee’s report was tampered with and forged by Bhasin and grading of “excellent” was substituted with “average” with a view to destroy his career, the PIL said.

IANS

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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)