In a major embarrassment to the UPA government and its highly incompetent prime minister, the 'oh-so-silent' Manmohan Singh, the Supreme Court of India today quashed the appointment of P J Thomas as Central Vigilance Commissioner.
The apex court said that the high-powered committee's recommendation on appointment of Thomas "does not exist in law". Apex court rejected the contention of Thomas and the government that the appointment of the CVC cannot be brought under judicial review. SC said that the legality of the recommendation can be brought under judicial review.
You must note that PJ Thomas was appointed Chief Vigilance Commissioner (CVC), India's topmost anti-corruption watchdog, on Sep 7 last year. Chief Vigilance Commission looks into the cases of corruption by government employees, ministers and bureaucrats. Few days after his appointment, media and the opposition brought in limelight some pending criminal case against Thomas.
A PIL was filed by an NGO, Center for Public Interest Litigation (CPIL) and retired bureaucrats and police officials, including former chief election commissioner J M Lyngdoh, which challenged Thomas' appointment as CVC in view of that pending criminal case (the palm oil case) against him in a Kerala court.
The UPA government, which is reeling under a series of scams ranging from Aadarsh to CWG to 2g Spectrum to S-Band allocation, stoutly defended appointment of Thomas as CVC.
The apex court's decision certainly acts as a slap on the face for the government, which appears to be neck deep in corruption. This perhaps explains why it appointed a 'tainted' man for handling cases of corruption.
Thomas resigned after the verdict. In her first reaction to the verdict, leader of opposition Sushma Swaraj tweeted that the "dignity of the office of CVC has been restored".
Dr Singh, Do you have something to say? At least now!