New Delhi: Central Vigilance Commissioner K.V. Chowdary has been accused of “casteist, vindictive and malicious discrimination” by the additional chief secretary of Tamil Nadu, Jagmohan Singh Raju. A notice has been sent to the Prime Minister’s Office in this regard by Raju’s counsel, Prashant Bhushan.
The notice also refers to the Department of Personnel and Training (DoPT), which comes under Prime Minister Narendra Modi, abdicating its responsibility of implementing the recommendations of the National Commission for Scheduled Castes (NCSC) and the Ministry of Social Justice and Empowerment.
Bhushan wrote to the PMO that both the NCSC and the ministry had directed that action be taken against officials responsible for the victimisation of IAS officer Raju, who has had an “unblemished and illustrious career” of over 33 years.
The notice further stated that there seems to be a wide disconnect between Modi’s stated commitment to the welfare of the Scheduled Castes and the response of rhe DoPT under his overall charge when it comes to the welfare of a community member. This, it said, was apparent from the fact that no action was against the CVC despite the NCSC holding him up for acts of malice towards the SC officer. The recommendation was made by the NCSC on December 9, 2016.
TN officer accused CVC of acting in mala fide manner
Earlier, in his plea, Raju accused the CVC of acting in a mala fide manner against him and ignoring all standing circulars, rules and office memoranda to order an inquiry into already closed complaints. He charged that this was done to withhold his vigilance clearance for empanelment as an additional secretary.
On this, the NCSC recommended to the DoPT:
“The Commission is concerned that if such a senior Scheduled Caste officer, has to face discrimination and injustice, leading to impediment to his career by delay in empanelment, demoralising him, as well as the petitioner having to unnecessary bear the stigma of an officer under investigation by CVC, then what is the recourse of the thousands of ordinary Government servants belonging to the Scheduled Castes. Injustice and discrimination at the hands of the public authorities erodes the faith of the community in the system.
The Commission has found, for reasons recorded above, that the petitioner has been grossly discriminated against and victimised. The findings of this case may be brought to the notice of the competent authority in the DoPT with the recommendation that it may take appropriate action in accordance with the Government’s instructions…The action taken by DoPT in this regard may be reported to this commission with 3 months.
DoPT may also examine if Section 4 of the Schedule Caste and Schedule Tribes (Amended) Act, 2015, will apply in the instant case and if so, consider to take necessary action.”
When the DoPT did not implement the recommendation, Raju moved the Delhi high court. On December 7, 2018, the court directed that a decision upon the findings and recommendations of the NCSC be taken within two months.
Ministry opinion said offence for discrimination was made out
DoPT then sought the views of the Ministry of Social Justice and Empowerment. The ministry gave its opinion on January 1, 2019.
It stated that insofar as the applicability of Section 4 of the SC/ST Act is concerned, it was up to the administrative ministry (DOPT in this case) to consider the merits of the case vis-à-vis the applicability of the section.
It also stated that sub-section (1) of Section 3 of the Act, which constitutes a punishable offence, seemed relevant in the context of discrimination, including discrimination at the workplace.
DoPT sent opinion to ‘accused’ CVC for action
The notice has stated that despite these views of the ministry, the DoPT, instead of initiating action as per law against the CVC, forwarded the comments of the ministry to the Central Vigilance Commission for necessary action on the NCSC’s recommendations.
“Not surprisingly,” the petition stated, the Commission, whose chief is the prime accused in this case, informed the NCSC on March 11, 2019 that in the facts of the case there would be no administrative inquiry into the ex-facie discrimination faced by Raju.
Thus the notice has charged that Raju’s is another case where the Modi government has failed to protect the dignity and interests of members of the Scheduled Castes.
`Remove CVC, file FIR’
The notice has stated that it is time for Raju to be given justice. It has therefore called upon the DoPT to initiate action for Chowdary’s removal as CVC under Section 6 (1) of the Central Vigilance Commission Act, 2003, including making a reference to the Supreme Court for holding an inquiry.
It has also demanded the registration of an FIR against the CVC and other unknown persons under sections of the SC/ST Act and other relevant laws.
The full text of the legal notice is below.
Legal notice on behalf of J… by on Scribd