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Jinx dogs vigilance panel Bill

New Delhi, April 24: The Central Vigilance Commission Bill appears to run into a hurdle every time it is tabled in Parliament.

This time, it is not MPs demanding amendments to the draft but some technical errors the government missed that have stalled the Bill’s progress.

The Bill was passed by the Lok Sabha on February 26 and was to be introduced in the Rajya Sabha this week. But the Centre has referred it back to the Cabinet to approve minor technical changes. The Bill will thus be placed before the Lok Sabha again before being introduced in the Rajya Sabha. The matter did not come before the Cabinet yesterday but sources said it is expected to be taken up at the next meeting so that the Bill can be introduced before the budget session ends on May 9.

One technical change the government intends to bring concerns change of guard. Earlier, the CVC was with the ministry of personnel. Now that the ministry of personnel has gone to deputy Prime Minister L.K. Advani and the Central Bureau of Investigation remains with the Prime Minister’s Office, the Bill will have to incorporate the Cabinet secretary as the officer supervising CBI, instead of the secretary (personnel). The CVC has been entrusted with superintendence of the CBI in matters relating to investigation of offences committed under the Prevention of Corruption Act.

One controversial point that the Centre has again introduced is “the single directive” issue, which means that the CBI will have to take government permission before conducting any inquiry against an officer of the level of joint secretary and above.

The single directive point was struck down earlier by the Supreme Court. CBI sources question the need to have a different yardstick for investigating officers of the rank of joint secretary and above. They said they know from experience that tainted officers have used the clause to their advantage by influencing the government to deny permission for an inquiry.

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