New Delhi: The Supreme Court on Monday questioned the controversial appointment of PJ Thomas as Chief Vigilance Commissioner. The apex court asked how Thomas would work as CVC since a chargesheet naming him was still pending in a criminal case.
"When he works as CVC, he will deal with corruption matters. There will be allegations against him. Tell us how he will functions as CVC with such allegations against him. In every matter he will face embarrassment," said the court.
The court further asked if impeccable integrity could be treated as an eligibility criterion for appointment for the post of CVC.
The Central Government, represented by Attorney General GE Vahanvati, hit back at the judges saying that if impeccable integrity was the criterion then every judicial appointment would be subject to question.
Vahanvati also placed a sealed cover file relating to the appointment of Thomas as CVC.
Janata Party President Subramanian Swamy Swamy welcomed the court's observation.
"SC talking on the appointment of CVC proves that the guardian of the Constitution has come to the rescue of the nation," said Swamy.
Opposition parties including the Communist Party of India-Marxist and the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) pointed out that Thomas had been a controversial officer and so his qappointment as the next CVC was questionable.
"Questions were raised on PJ Thomas involvement in the pamoline case and his role as telecom secretary in 2G scam. Yet the government overrode all objections and appointed him CVC. There the very issues the court raises today. Let's see what the government does from here on," said CPI-M leader Sitaram Yechury
BJP leader Balbir Punj claimed the Government had lost its credibility after the Supreme Court's adverse observation on Thomas.
"When the decision of appointing of PJ Thomas as CVC was taken at that very point Sushma Swaraj had raised an objection saying he has a tainted record. Because of some mysterious reasons Congress party decided to overrule the opposition and decided to go ahead with appointment of PJ Thomas who has a tainted record and obviously Supreme Court has asked a very valid question. The way the Supreme Court has been questioning the integrity of UPA-2 that only mean one thing that this Government has lost its credibility with the people and Parliament already. Now even the highest court is question its integrity," Punj said.
Earlier, Supreme Court lawyer Prashant Bhushan had leveled numerous accusations against Thomas while arguing a PIL in the apex court.
Bhushan claimed that since Thomas was chargesheeted in the palmoline export scam while serving as Kerala's secretary in the State Ministry of Food and Civil Supplies, his appointment would be against norms.
Thomas as secretary in the Department of Telecommunications is also alleged to have covered up the 2G spectrum scandal.