Monday, February 7, 2011

Can govt appoint a convict to statutory post, asks SC

New Delhi: P J Thomas’s attempts to dilute the focus on his appointment as the Chief Vigilance Commissioner (CVC) despite the pending chargesheet in the palmolein import scam drew sharp comments from the Supreme Court — “If the executive appointed a convicted person, can the court not review it?” 
   Thomas said many members of Parliament with pending chargesheets have been appointed as ministers or heads of important organisations like Air India. “Can the court keep questioning all these
appointments? If it does, then it will open a Pandora’s box,” his counsel K K Venugopal argued.
   He said it was the government’s sole discretion to judge suitability of a person for statutory or constitutional post. “Once the executive judges the person’s suitability who meets all eligibility criteria for the post, a judicial review of the decision was not permissible,” Venugopal said. A bench comprising Chief Justice S H Kapadia and Justices K S Radhakrishnan and Swatanter Kumar reacted sharply. “Can you say that the courts are barred from reviewing an appointment even if a convicted person is appointed to a high statutory post?”
   It went on to ask why Thomas had kept silent for 11 years and not challenged the Kerala government’s November 30, 1999, decision to grant sanction for his prosecution under Section 120B of Indian Penal Code and under the Prevention of Corruption Act. When Venugopal argued that the sanction was not valid as the state government had promoted him as chief secretary, the Bench said: “But, you have not challenged it. We are not on the legality of the sanction order. The sanction order still holds good against you.”

P J Thomas

No comments:

Post a Comment