The Madras High Court today adjourned to August 18 hearing on a PIL filed by DMK, challenging the appointment of the vigilance commissioner, to enable the Advocate General get instructions on the tenure. Hearing the plea filed by DMK organising secretary R S Bharathi, the first bench comprising Chief Justice Indira Banerjee and Justice M Sundar, adjourned the case to that date. The petitioner sought a direction to quash the appointment of V K Jeyakodi as Vigilance Commissioner and a direction to the Chief Secretary to appoint a person after a fair, reasonable and transparent consultative process. DMK counsel P Wilson submitted that when the transfer and posting of the Secretary is entirely left to the discretion of the council of ministers and the chief minister, it necessarily follows that officials in sensitive and high level positions would hesitate to act against their political bosses. He submitted that appointing a secretary who was junior to the chief secretary and other secretaries as State Vigilance Commissioner (SVC) was arbitrary, unreasonable and colourable exercise of power. He also contended that it was incumbent upon the government to appoint an independent person with an impeccable record while following directions of the Supreme Court. The petitioner said the directions of the Supreme Court on the appointment, powers and functions of the Central Vigilance Commissioner must be extended to SVC also since the character and functions of the two are identical. "An integrity institution is an institution created to supervise vigilance administration, which means the said institution is to be headed by a person from either the civil service or all India service and having experience in matters relating to vigilance, policy making and administration including police administration," the counsel said. In the present case, the person heading the Vigilance Commission was serving at the pleasure of the Chief Minister and cabinet ministers, the petitioner claimed. The person would always be a 'puppet' in the hands of the political bosses and there cannot be any independent thinking nor would the appointee be allowed to function on his own, the counsel said. Hence, the very intention of setting up the vigilance administrative machinery is rendered otiose (serving no practical purpose or result) if the person heading it was expected to be subordinate and subservient to ministers and other higher officials, the DMK's counsel submitted.
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