CVC should independently examine whistle-blowers'' complaints: SC

 The Supreme Court on Thursday said that the Central Vigilance Commission was expected to objectively and independently examine the complaints by whistle-blowers against officials and not just act as a post office to forward the complaints to the chief vigilance officer of the department concerned.

New Delhi: The Supreme Court on Thursday said that the Central Vigilance Commission was expected to objectively and independently examine the complaints by whistle-blowers against officials and not just act as a post office to forward the complaints to the chief vigilance officer of the department concerned.

"Once they have procedure, they have to follow it" in dealing with the complaints, said a bench of Justice T.S.Thakur, Justice Rohinton Fali Nariman and Justice Prafulla C. Pant pointing out that that CVC can`t pass "telegraphic orders".

Saying that the orders passed by the CVC on the complaints by the whistle-blowers has to be a speaking order, the court asked: "What measures you adopt in objectively assessing the complaints."

It further observed that the working of the CVC should be more "effective and transparent".

The court`s observations came in the course of the hearing of a PIL by NGO Parivartan seeking protection of the identity of the whistle-blowers including from harassment and discrimination at the hands of those whose acts of misdemeanour they seeks to expose.

"They should come forward if they have problem in manpower and financial resources", the court said as counsel Prashant Bhushan told the court that CVC had just 300 staffers right from the top man to the man at the bottom and suffered both in terms of manpower and financial resources.

Bhushan told the court that given the huge magnitude of the problem, they don`t have resources which was effecting their work.

"The Whistle Blowers Protection Act, 2011 has created an agency which will suffer from twin problem of manpower shortage and financial crunch," he said.

"And justice becomes a casualty," remarked the court as Bhushan said: "It is like courts which don`t have adequate funds resulting lack of judges and judicial infrastructure."

"You can kill a body by starving it of funds," he added.

Taking note of the submissions by Bhushan and apparent deficiencies in the working of the act, the court asked him to submit his suggestion to improve its enforcement, as well as to find out if there were similar laws in other countries and their working.

Bhushan will also give suggestions on make effective the supervision of the Central Bureau of Investigation by the CVC. The court gave Bhushan four weeks file his suggestions and three weeks to the central government to respond to them.

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