New Delhi: Anti-corruption watchdog Central Vigilance Commission (CVC) and transparency panel Central Information Commission (CIC) are now both without their chiefs.
Central Vigilance Commissioner Pradeep Kumar demitted office today, after serving for a little over three years. Kumar, a former Defence Secretary, took oath as the chief of the probity watchdog on July 14, 2011. He was given a farewell by his office staff on Friday.
The CVC is headed by a Central Vigilance Commissioner and has two Vigilance Commissioners. One of the Vigilance Commissioners, J M Garg, completed his tenure on September 7.
Rajiv, a former Director General of Central Industrial Security Force, is now the lone commissioner in the CVC.
A former IPS officer, Rajiv is likely to be given charge of the post of Central Vigilance Commissioner till the government decides on a new incumbent, official sources said.
In the event of any vacancy in the office of the Central Vigilance Commissioner by reason of death, resignation or otherwise, the President may authorise one of the Vigilance Commissioners to act as the Central Vigilance Commissioner until the appointment of a new incumbent, according to the Central Vigilance Commission Act, 2003.
Supreme Court is hearing a case related to lack of transparency in the appointment of the Central Vigilance Commissioner and Vigilance Commissioners. Attorney General Mukul Rohatgi had on September 18 assured the apex court that no final decision would be taken on the appointment of the CVC chief and vigilance commissioners during pendency of the case.
Supreme Court has fixed October 14 as the date for the final hearing in the matter.
The CIC, on the other hand, is functioning without a chief due apparently to the absence of the Leader of Opposition (LoP) in Lok Sabha, who is supposed to be on the selection committee for finding a nominee for the post.
Chief Information Commissioner Rajiv Mathur completed his
tenure on August 22. A former chief of the Intelligence Bureau, Mathur had taken over as the sixth Chief Information Commissioner on May 22.
The CIC chief is appointed by the President upon the recommendation of a three-member selection committee headed by the Prime Minister and comprising the LoP and a Union Cabinet Minister nominated by the Prime Minister.
There is no recognised LoP in Lok Sabha at present with the second-biggest party in the House, Congress, having been denied the post on the grounds that it does not have the minimum number of MPs needed for it.
Congress has 44 seats in the 543-member Lok Sabha, but the party fell short by 11 MPs in staking a claim to the LoP's post, which requires a minimum strength of 55 members. BJP has the highest number of 282 MPs in the Lower House.
There are seven Information Commissioners -- Vijai Sharma, Basant Seth, Yashovardhan Azad, Sharat Sabharwal, Manjula Prasher, MA Khan Yusufi and Prof Madabhushanam Sridhar Acharyulu -- against its strength of 10.
The CIC is mandated to resolve appeals and complaints filed against government departments or public authorities by information seekers under the Right to Information (RTI) Act.