Surprisingly, until now there are no guidelines to handle complaints against the CVC, according to the Personnel Ministry.
A study conducted by transparency watchdog Central Information Commission (CIC) has concluded that most Central government department websites lack suo moto disclosure of public information under a mandatory provision of the Right to Information (RTI) Act. While this observation may seem pretty self-evident to the aam aadmi, it also strengthens the growing view that the Modi sarkar is less keen on transparency, never mind its public utterances.
The evaluation was conducted by a committee comprising former chief information commissioner A.N. Tewari and former information commissioner M.M. Ansari.
The aim was to ascertain the quality of suo moto disclosures under Section 4 of the RTI Act made by various public authorities. The committee evolved an evaluation format and requested all public authorities to fill it up.
Out of 2,092 public authorities registered with the commission, feedback was received from only 838. Among its major findings, the CIC report said missing information largely relates to “policy on transfer and posting of senior officers deployed at important and sensitive places; details of domestic and foreign visits undertaken by the senior officials and sources and methods of funding political parties or identification of donors”, among others.
Government wakes up Even as the CBI fires rage, the Centre has reportedly begun framing guidelines to handle grievances against the central vigilance commissioner (CVC). Due to the warring chieftains in the CBI, the Supreme Court asked the Central Vigilance Commission, which exercises its watch over the CBI in corruption matters, to complete within two weeks its inquiry into allegations against director Alok Verma.
Surprisingly, until now there are no guidelines to handle complaints against the CVC, according to the Personnel Ministry. This fact came to light following an RTI application filed by whistle-blower babu Sanjiv Chaturvedi. The babu had sought copies of correspondences from the Personnel Ministry related to a plea filed by him last year with the President’s secretariat. In the plea, Mr Chaturvedi had invoked Section 6 of the CVC Act that empowers the President to refer cases of allegations of misconduct against the CVC for enquiry by Supreme Court. Mr Chaturvedi had alleged that the CVC closed cases of corruption involving senior functionaries in Delhi’s All India Institute of Medical Sciences (AIIMS).
Babus back tainted colleagues The convictions of former IAS and ex-coal secretary H.C. Gupta, former joint secretary in the Coal Ministry, K.S. Kropha and the then director in the same ministry, K.C. Samria, in the coal scam, has come as a blow to the IAS (Central) Association. The three babus were held guilty of corruption and criminal conspiracy in a case linked to the allotment of coal blocks in West Bengal.
However, a section of retired and serving babus has always maintained that their former colleagues were innocent. Perhaps uncharacteristically, the IAS Association responded to the news by changing its Twitter logo in support of the convicted babus. Further, it tweeted that the conviction was “most unfortunate” and this was a “black letter day for bureaucracy”. It also added that it stood in support of the three babus “in this time of distress”.
While it is true that Gupta and co have many supporters within the babu ranks, the writing was on the wall for some time. In May 2017 Gupta and the other two officers were convicted and sentenced to a two-year jail term, though they got bail. Now by publicly standing up in support of the convicted babus, is the association angling for a confrontation with the Supreme Court?