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Thursday, August 4, 2016

Service Matter - sought quashing of orders granting extension of tenure to Respondent No.4 Ms. Anju Banerjee as Chairman-cum- Managing Director, Educational Consultants India Limited, for a period of 5 years i.e., upto 28.11.2015.= The Committee found no merit in any of the allegations. The entire matter was thereafter placed before the Competent Authority who after considering all the issues approved extension of tenure of Respondent No.4 for a period of five years. The record is clear that at the initial stage when the response from CVC was awaited, an extension was granted only for three months and when the letter from CVC was received, the matter was not only clarified immediately but the allegations in the complaint referred to in the letter of CVC were also looked into by the Committee. The stand of CVC as evident from its letter dated 09.11.2011 is that after having brought the relevant facets of the matter to the notice of the Competent Authority vide letter dated 02.12.2010, CVC had no further role in the matter. The record further shows that right from 06.01.2011 every development was communicated to CVC. We, therefore, find nothing wrong in the decision making process in the present matter nor do we find any infraction in securing and acting in terms of the comments of CVC. We, therefore, reject the challenge to the orders granting extension to Respondent No.4.

                                                              Non-Reportable


                        IN THE SUPREME COURT OF INDIA

                        CIVIL APPELLATE JURISDICTION

                      CIVIL APPEAL NO.  7221  OF  2016
                  (Arising out of SLP (C) No.14406 of 2012)



Educ. Cons. (I) Ltd. SC/ST Empl. Wel. Asso.               …… Appellant

                                   Versus

Union   of   India   &    Others                                          ……
Respondents


                             JUDGMENT



Uday Umesh Lalit


Leave granted.

This appeal is directed against the  judgment  and  order  dated  07.12.2011
passed by the High Court of Delhi dismissing Writ Petition  (Civil)  No.7577
of 2011,  which had  questioned  and  sought  quashing  of  orders  granting
extension of tenure to Respondent No.4 Ms. Anju  Banerjee  as  Chairman-cum-
Managing Director, Educational Consultants India Limited, for a period of  5
years i.e., upto 28.11.2015.

3.     Educational  Consultants  India  Limited  (Ed.CIL,  for  short)   was
conceived and incorporated as a Public Sector Enterprise by  the  Government
of India in 1981 under the Ministry of Education and Culture  (reconstituted
as the Ministry of Human  Resource  Development  since  then).   The  Ed.CIL
offers consultancy and technical services in different  areas  of  Education
and Human Resource Development not only  within  the  Country  but  also  on
global  basis.   The  Ed.CIL  is  category   ‘C’   Central   Public   Sector
Undertaking.   The  procedure  with  regard  to  appointments  to  posts  in
categories ‘C’ and ‘D’ of Public Sector Enterprises has been  prescribed  by
Office Memorandum dated 03.04.2001, whereby the  Appointments  Committee  of
Cabinet  has  delegated  its  power  in  relation   to   appointments,    to
Administrative   Ministries/Departments    Public    Sector    Undertakings.
According to the procedure prescribed, Public  Enterprises  Selection  Board
(hereinafter referred to as PESB) a high powered  body  constituted  by  the
Government of  India  to  advise  the  Government  on  appointments  to  top
managerial posts, is involved in the selection process. The  policy  of  the
Government of India is  to  appoint  outstanding  professional  Managers  to
levels 1 and 2 posts and such other posts as the Government may decide  from
time to time, through a fair and objective selection procedure.

4.    Respondent No.4, who was  then  holding  the  post  of  Group  General
Manager, HRD, Indian Railway Catering and  Tourism  Corporation,  New  Delhi
was appointed  as  Chairman-cum-Managing  Director  (‘CMD’  for  short)   of
Ed.CIL vide order dated 04.10.2005 for five  years w.e.f.  30.11.2005  after
following due procedure.   The tenure of five years of  Respondent  No.4  as
CMD of  Ed.CIL was to  expire  on  29.11.2010  and  the  Ministry  of  Human
Resource and Development (‘HRD’ for short) took up the matter with  PESB  on
the proposal of extension to be granted to Respondent  No.4.   The  proposal
was  considered  by  PESB  in  its  meeting  held  on  26.10.2010  and   the
recommendations were then forwarded to  the  Ministry  of  HRD  vide  letter
dated 27.10.2010 as under:-

          “PUBLIC ENTERPRISES SELECTION BOARD
      (Ministry of Personnel Public Grievances & Pensions)


Sub:  Extension  of  tenure  or  otherwise  of  Ms.  Anju   Banerjee,   CMD,
Educational Consultants India Ltd. beyond 29.11.2010.

  The Board considered the  proposal  of  the  Ministry  of  Human  Resource
Development regarding extension of tenure or otherwise  Ms.  Anju  Banerjee,
CMD, Educational Consultants India Ltd. beyond 29.11.2010  as  contained  in
letter   No.F.20-19/2010/TS-VIII(Pt.)   dated   14.9.2010,   24.09.2010    &
20.10.2010.

  As per the procedure laid down by the PESB vide their  O.M.  No.  5/16/96-
PESB dated 21.11.1996, the case  of  extension/non-extension  of  tenure  of
Board level appointees are required to be considered by  the  Board  in  the
light of his performance as reflected in the documents like the  data  based
performance report, the special performance report and the ACRs  along  with
the inputs given by the Secretary of the Administrative Ministry etc.

  Against this background, the proposal of the Ministry  of  Human  Resource
Development  regarding  extension  of  tenure  or  otherwise  of  Ms.   Anju
Banerjee, CMD, Educational Consultants India Ltd.  beyond   29.11.2010,  was
considered by the Board in its meeting held  on  6.10.2010  when  Secretary,
HRD apprised the Board that no ACRs  of  the  officer  were  available.  The
Board decided to await for the ACRs before taking a  decision.  As  per  the
standard practice Ms. Anju Banerjee was also called to meet the Board.

  The Board noted that on the  recommendation  of  the  PESB  and  with  the
approval of the competent authority, Ms.  Anju  Banerjee  was  appointed  as
CMD, Educational Consultants India Ltd.  w.e.f.  30.11.2005  and  she  would
complete  her  five  years  on  29.11.2010.  She  will  attain  the  age  of
superannuation on 31.1.2017, her date of birth being 24.1.1957.

  On receipt of ACRs the Board  considered  the  proposal  in  its  internal
meeting on 26.10.2010. Taking into account  the  totality  of  circumstances
including her performance as reflected in the  documents  forwarded  by  the
Administrative Deptt. like the data based performance  report,  the  special
performance  report,  the  available  ACRs  and  the  inputs  given  by  the
Secretary, HRD  the  Board  after  consideration  recommended  extension  of
tenure of Ms. Anju Banerjee, CMD, Educational Consultants India Ltd.  beyond
29.11.2010 to 29.11.2015.

  The ACR dossiers of Ms. Anju Banerjee  (For  the  period  from  1.4.09  to
31.10.09 and November 2009 to 31.3.2010) are enclosed for necessary  action.
For expediting Vigilance Clearances a photo-copy of the pro-forma filled  in
by the candidate is also enclosed for necessary action.

The case may kindly be processed further for obtaining the approval  of  the
competent authority for extension of  tenure  of  Ms.  Anju  Banerjee,  CMD,
Educational Consultants India Ltd. beyond 29.11.2010 upto 29.11.2015.

  A copy of the order when issued may please be sent to us  for  information
of the Board.

                                                             (VEDANTAM GIRI)
                                                                    DIRECTOR

(Ministry of Human Resource Development Ms. Vibha Puri Das.  Secretary)  New
Delhi
PESB U. O .No. 9/15/2010-PESB dated 27/10/2010”


5.    The proforma for seeking Vigilance Clearance was enclosed  along  with
the aforesaid recommendation and the  relevant  papers  were  sent  by  PESB
directly to Central Vigilance Commission (‘CVC’  for  short).   CVC  by  its
letter dated 01.11.2010 requested the Ministry of HRD  to  provide  complete
information  in  respect  of  Respondent  No.4  in  the  prescribed  format.
Accordingly, by letter dated 09.11.2010 the Government  of  India,  Ministry
of HRD,  Department  of  Higher  Education  forwarded  complete  details  of
Respondent No.4 to CVC stating inter-alia that  Respondent  No.4  was  clear
from Vigilance angle.  It was stated  in  the  letter  that  the  tenure  of
Respondent No.4 as CMD, Ed.CIL was due to expire on 29.11.2010 and  as  such
Vigilance Clearance may be communicated to the Ministry by 26.11.2010.


6.    This was followed by letter dated 23.11.2010 in which  the  Government
of India, Ministry of HRD, Department of Higher Education requested  CVC  to
expedite the matter and forward the  Clearance  before  26.11.2010.   As  no
communication was  received  from  CVC,  the  file  was  placed  before  the
Competent Authority which took following  decisions:-
“(a)  In the event of Vigilance Clearance from CVC not  being  available  by
26.11.2010, the present CMD, Smt.Anju Banerjee may be  allowed  to  continue
for a period of three months beyond  29.11.2010  for  until  further  order,
whichever is earlier.

(b)   If the Vigilance Clearance from CVC is received,  extension  for  full
five years would be issued.”


7.    Since no response was received from  CVC,  the  Government  of  India,
Ministry of HRD,  Department  of  Higher  Education  vide  its  order  dated
29.11.2010 granted extension of tenure to Respondent No.4  as  Chairman-cum-
Managing  Director,  Ed.CIL  for  an  initial  period  of  3  months  beyond
29.11.2010 or  until  further  orders.   On  02.12.2010  CVC  wrote  to  the
Government of India, Ministry of HRD to the following effect:-
“Telegraphic Address
‘SATARKTA’, New Delhi
E-Mail Address
cewnvigil@nic.in
Website
www.cvc.nic.in       CENTRAL VIGILANCE COMMISSION
EPABX
24651001-07
QSDI/Fax:2461286
                             Satarkta Bhavan G.P.O. Complex
                             Block A, INA, New Delhi-110023
                                  005-VGC-151
                                                          La-/No…………………………..
                                                    Fnukad/Dated   2.12.2010
Shri Amit Khare,
Jt. Secy & CVO
Ministry of HRD,
D/o Higher Education
New Delhi.

Sub: Vigilance Clearance in respect of Ms. Anju  Banerjee  CMD,  Educational
Consultants India Ltd.

Please refer to your letter No. F.C. 19011/2/2010-Vig.  Dated  9.11.2010  on
the above subject.

As the Ministry of HRD is aware, there have  been  a  series  of  complaints
against Ms. Banerjee in the recent past including repeated  complaints  made
under Whistleblower’s Act, from a Deputy Manager of  EdCIL  leveling,  inter
alia,    allegations     of     harassment,     of     irregularities     in
promotions/appointments etc. the ministry is also aware that some  of  these
allegations have been found  on  investigation,  to  be  prima  facie  true.
Further when the Commission took up the case of protection  of  the  whistle
blower, Ms. Banerjee not  only  put  pressure  on  the  CVO  but  also  got,
eventually the CVO’s post abolished,  Attention  of  the  Ministry  is  also
invited, in this connection, to the ex-CVO/EdCIL’S letter dated  05.02.2010,
Commission’s letters dated  11.02.2010,  05.04.2010  etc.  as  well  (copies
enclosed).

The commission has, therefore, advised that the above facts  may  be  placed
before the competent authority while it considers Ms.  Banerjee’s  case  for
extension of tenure.

                                                            Yours faithfully

                                                                (P.M.Pillai)
                                                                    Director
                                                           Telefax- 24651013

Encl: As above”


8.    In reply,  the  Government  of  India  vide  letter  dated  06.01.2011
clarified the issues raised in letter dated 02.12.2010.  It stated that  the
concerned Deputy Manager was charge-sheeted prior to his  filing  complaints
and that such complaint was not whistleblower’s complaint.  The  letter  was
as under:-
    “No. F.C. 19011/2/2010-VIG.
Government of India
Ministry of Human Resource Development
Department of Higher Education
Vigilance Wing

                                      New Delhi, dated the 6th January, 2011

To,
Shri P.M. Pillai
Director
Central Vigilance Commission
Satarkta Bhawan, GPO Complex,
Block-A, INA,
New Delhi.

Sub: Vigilance Clearance in respect of Ms. Anju Banerjee,  CMD,  Educational
Consultants India Ltd.


Sir,

Please refer to your letter No. 005-VGC-151/110692 dated 02.12.2010  on  the
subject mentioned above. While  in  pursuance  of  Commission’s  advice,  we
would be placing before the competent authority, the  issue  raised  by  the
Commission in the subject letter, I am desired to apprise the Commission  of
the status of these issues.

In so far as the complaints made under  the  Whistleblowers  Act  by  Deputy
Manager of Ed.CIL against Ms.Anju Banerjee are  concerned,  we  had  earlier
vide our letter dated 24.05.2010, apprised the Commission  of  the  sequence
of events about the initiation of disciplinary proceeding against  the  said
Deputy Manager by Ed.CIL  and  his  filing  the  PIDPI  complaint  with  the
Commission.  On the aforesaid reference from the Ministry,  this  issue  was
examined by the Commission and  the  Commission  had  intimated  vide  their
letter No.006/EDN/057 (Pt.)/89868 dated 09.06.2010 that they had  noted  the
position brought out by the  Ministry  that  the  said  Deputy  Manager  was
charge-sheeted prior to his filing the PIDPI complaint.  In  view  of  this,
obviously the complaint was not a whistleblower’s complaint.

As regards the abolition of the CVO’s post by Ed.CIL, the fact is  that  the
post  was  abolished  by  the  Ed.CIL  Board  which  decision,   after   due
consideration, was subsequently endorsed by the Ministry  and  the  position
in this regard was also apprised to the Commission and to the Department  of
Personnel  &  Training   vide   letter   No.C-34014/1/2008-Vigilance   dated
11th/15th March,  2010  and  No.C-34014/1/2008-Vig  dated  1st  April,  2010
respectively.

                                                            Yours faithfully
                                                                (AMIT KHARE)
                                                      Joint Secretary & CVO”


The record indicates that in order to get factual  position  in  respect  of
allegations in the complaint  referred to in the   letter  dated  02.12.2010
examined, the Education Secretary, Department of Higher Education,  Ministry
of HRD, Government of India vide her Note dated  02.02.2011  commended  that
the said matters be jointly examined by two  senior  most  officers  of  the
Department. Accordingly all  the  allegations  contained  in  the  complaint
referred to in letter dated 02.12.2010 were looked into by  a  Committee  of
two senior most officers of the Department namely Shri  Ashok  Kumar  Thakur
and Shri Sunil Kumar on the basis  of  the  concerned  file.  The  Committee
submitted its report in the  form  of  tabulated  statement  indicating  the
allegations, response of Ed. CIL and conclusions reached  by  the  Committee
with respect to those allegations. The Committee found no merit  in  any  of
the allegations and concluded that no case was made out for  denial  of  re-
appointment of Respondent No.4.  The entire matter was  then  placed  before
the Competent Authority  who  after  considering  all  the  issues  approved
extension of  tenure  of  Respondent  No.4  for  a  period  of  five  years.
Accordingly the Government of India, Ministry of HRD, Department  of  Higher
Education vide its letter dated 22.02.2011 granted extension  to  Respondent
No.4 for five years.

10.   Thereafter Joint Secretary/CVO of the  Government of  India,  Ministry
of  HRD,  Department  of  Higher  Education  vide  letter  dated  16.03.2011
forwarded report of the Committee to CVC and  informed  that  the  Committee
did not find any merit in the allegations leveled in the complaint  referred
to in letter dated 02.12.2010 of CVC. He further stated that he agreed  with
the recommendations of the Committee and was of  the  considered  view  that
the matter be closed and suggested that CVC may  also  consider  closure  of
the matter.  Said letter dated 16.3.2011 was to the following effect:-
            “No. C-13012/14/2010-Vigilance
                 Government of India
Ministry of Human Resource Development
        Department of Higher Education
                               Vigilance Wing

                                         R.No. 231, C Wing, Shashtri Bhawan,
                                           New Delhi, dated 16th March, 2011

Subject:- Complaint against Smt. Anju Banerjee CMD Ed. CIL

Central   Vigilance   Commission   may   kindly   refer    to    their    OM
Nos.010/EDN/065/96501 dated 10.08.2010, 010/EDN/065/ 9741 dated  10.08.2010,
010/EDN/064/96104     dated     29.07.2010,     010/EDN/065/102883     dated
23.09.2010,010/EDN/065/116320  dated  17.01.2011  on  the  above   mentioned
subject. These complaints were referred to a Committee  consisting  of  Shri
Ashok Thakur, Special Secretary and Shri Sunil Kumar,  Additional  Secretary
in the Ministry. The Committee  did  not  find  any  merit  in  any  of  the
allegations leveled in the complaints.

2. The Report has been accepted by the Central Govt. in the Ministry.

3. I fully agree with the recommendations of the Committee  and  am  of  the
considered view that this matter should now  be  closed.  Central  Vigilance
Commission may, therefore, consider closure of the same.

                                                (Amit Khare)
                                                      JS CVO
Secretary,
Central Vigilance Commission
Satarkata Bhavan, GPO Complex
(Attention:Shri Prabhat Kumar, Director)
Block A, INA New Delhi-110023
Encl: As above”


11.   In the  meantime,  the  appellant  had  filed  Writ  Petition  (Civil)
No.8032 of 2010 on 23.11.2010 in the High Court of Delhi praying inter  alia
for quashing of the proposal to grant extension to Respondent No.4  as  CMD,
Ed. CIL for a fresh term of five years.  After the orders  dated  29.11.2010
and 22.02.2011 granting extension to Respondent No.4 were issued,  the  High
Court permitted the appellant to withdraw said  Writ  Petition  and  file  a
comprehensive   Writ   Petition   incorporating   the   subsequent   events.
Accordingly  Writ  Petition  (Civil)  No.7577  of  2011  was  filed  by  the
appellant on 09.09.2011 seeking quashing  of  orders  dated  29.11.2010  and
22.02.2011 whereby Respondent No.4 was  granted  extension  of  five  years.
The High Court by its  order  dated  19.10.2011  issued  Notice  to  CVC  to
clarify whether specific clearance of CVC was  required  for  extending  the
term of Respondent No.4 for a  period  of  five  years  as  CMD  Ed.CIL  and
whether CVC had no  further  role  to  play  in  the  matter  after  it  had
addressed communication dated 02.12.2010.

12.   In response, an affidavit in reply was filed on behalf of Ministry  of
HRD,   Department   of   Higher   Education   placing   all   the   relevant
correspondence.  The affidavit also placed on record, the  report  submitted
by the Committee of Mr. Ashok Thakur and Mr. Sunil Kumar  dated  15.02.2011.
During  the  course  of  hearing  of  the  matter,  the  learned  Additional
Solicitor General also placed on record, letter  dated  09.11.2011  sent  by
CVC to the Ministry of HRD, informing that CVC had no  role  after  issuance
of communication  dated  02.12.2010  regarding  Vigilance  Clearance.   Said
letter dated 09.11.2011 was as under:-
                                                             “MOST IMMEDIATE
                                                                COURT MATTER

No.010/LEGAL/083/153071
CENTRAL VIGILANCE COMMISSION

                                                             Satarkta Bhavan
                                                        GPO Complex. Block-A
                                                      INA, New Delhi 110 023
                                                         Dated the 9.11.2011
To,
Shri K.S. Mahajan
Under Secretary(Vig.)
Ministry of Human Resource Development
Shastri Bhawan
New Delhi 110 001

Sub: CWP No. 7577 of 2011 titled “Educational Consultants India Ltd. vs.
UOI & Ors.”  Filed before the Hon’ble High Court of Delhi.

Sir,

      Please refer to Ed.CIL’s  letter  No.  Ed.CIL/Legal/51-2010-Hr.  dated
24.10.2011 on the above subject.  Copy of letter enclosed.

2.    A perusal of the  HC’s   order  dated  19.10.2011   reveals  that  the
Hon’ble Division Bench has sought the response  of  the  Commission  on  the
following issues:

Whether specific clearance of CVC was required for extending  the  terms  of
CMD,  Ed.CIL for another five years.
Whether CVC has no  further  role  to  play  in  the  matter  after  it  had
addressed  communication  dated  02.12.2010  i.e.  the  Vigilance  Clearance
granted by CVC.

3.    It is stated on the basis of records that as regards point No.I,   the
relevant circulars/instructions issued by DoPT (copy  enclosed)  may  please
be referred.    Regarding point No.ii, it is hereby informed that  there  is
no role of the Commission after issue of  Commission’s  communication  dated
02.12.2010 regarding Vigilance Clearance.  It is  requested  that  effective
steps may please be taken to defend  the interests of  the  Commission  also
before the Hon’ble High Court.

                                                           Yours faithfully,

                                                                (R.N. Nayak)
                                                                 OSD (Admn.)
                                                              Tel.: 24643592

Encl.: As above

 Copy to: Shri N.S. Padmananbhan,  Chief General Manager
        (HR/Admn.), Ed.CIL(India) Ltd.,  10-B, IP Estate, New Delhi 110 002.


                                                                (R.N. Nayak)
                                                                OSD (Admn.)”

13.   The High Court by its order dated 07.12.2011 dismissed  Writ  Petition
(Civil) No.7577/2011 as it found no merit in the petition.  It  referred  to
the communications dated  16.03.2011  and  09.11.2011  in  its  order.   The
relevant portion of the order of the High Court is quoted hereunder:-
“5.   In compliance of the order  dated  19th  October,  2011  (supra),   an
affidavit has been filed enclosing inter  alia  letter  dated  6th  January,
2011 of the Ministry of Human Resource Development,  Government of India  to
the Respondent No.3 CVC informing that  the complaint of the Deputy  Manager
was  motivated as a  charge sheet had  been  issued  to  him  prior  to  his
making the complaint; that he  thus did not even stand in the position of  a
whistle blower and that the abolition of the CVO’s post  in  Ed.CIL  (India)
Ltd. was with the sanction of the Ministry.    The affidavit  also  encloses
other documents to show  that  the  decision  to  extend  the  term  of  the
Respondent No.4 as CMD was taken after due consideration of all  the  facts.
The affidavit also encloses  the  letter  dated  16th  March,  2011  of  the
Ministry of  Human Resource Development to the Respondent No.3  CVC  closing
the complaints against the Respondent No.4.

6.    The learned Additional  Solicitor  General  has  during  the   hearing
today also handed over a copy of the letter dated 9th November, 2011 of  the
 Respondent No.3 CVC to the Ministry informing that the Respondent No.3  CVC
had no role after issuance of the communication  dated  2nd  December,  2010
regarding Vigilance Clearance.

7.    We are thus satisfied that there is no merit in the allegation in  the
petition of the extension of the term of the Respondent No.4  being  without
the CVC clearance.  We are also satisfied that there is no other  illegality
in the CVC clearance.”


14.   In this appeal challenging the aforesaid decision of the  High  Court,
certain additional  documents  were  placed  on  record  which  are  replies
received to queries under the Right to  Information  Act.  These  additional
documents include communication dated 03.06.2011  from  CVC  to  the  effect
that a direct enquiry under Sections 8 and 11 of the Central Vigilance  Act,
2003 relating to  complaints  in  file  No.010/EDM065  and  010/EDM/064  was
entrusted to Shri Amar Mudi.  Subsequently, by way of  I.A.  No.6  two  more
documents were placed  on  record  including  “Draft  Inspection  Report  on
Contracts awarded by Ministry of HRD during 2007-08 to  2009-10  to  Ed.CIL”
by CAG, Director General of Audit (Central Expenditure).

15.   Along with affidavit in reply filed on behalf of Ministry of HRD,  the
entire correspondence in the matter was placed  on  record.   The  affidavit
also referred to the proceedings  initiated  against  the  concerned  Deputy
Secretary and stated  that  he  was  charge-sheeted  vide  memorandum  dated
05.10.2007 and 19.08.2008 purely on  administrative  grounds  for  omissions
committed by him in the year 2003-2004 and 2005-2008, which was much  before
the decision of CVC considering him as a whistleblower;  the  fact  that  he
was so charge-sheeted before he was given whistleblower status was noted  by
CVC vide its letter dated 09.06.2010; the  concerned  Deputy  Secretary  had
filed a Writ Petition challenging said charge-sheets which was dismissed  by
the High Court; thereafter disciplinary proceedings culminated in  an  order
of dismissal of that Deputy Secretary; and the  entire  sequence  of  events
was intimated to CVC who had remarked that since an appeal would lie  before
Appellate Authority it had decided not to interfere in the matter.

16.   We heard Mr. Prashant Bhushan, learned Advocate appearing  in  support
of the  petition  and  Mr.  Ranjit  Kumar,  learned  Solicitor  General  for
Respondents No.1, 2 and 3.   After  hearing  the  counsel,  the  matter  was
reserved for judgment and the learned Solicitor General was  asked  to  file
additional affidavit on behalf of CVC indicating current  position  and  the
format according to which clearances, if any, are either granted, denied  or
deferred by CVC.

17.   Accordingly, the Additional Secretary, CVC filed additional  affidavit
referring to  Office  Memorandum  dated  4.08.1988  and  placing  on  record
Guidelines dated  29.10.2007  and  14.12.2007,  Circular  dated  12.07.1999,
Instructions dated 22.10.2014 and 30.10.2014, letter  dated  02.12.2010  and
Formats of clearances  of  CVC.   An  additional  affidavit  was  thereafter
filed by the appellant seeking to bring on  record  certain  new  facts  and
alleging that the action against the whistleblower appeared to be mala  fide
and arbitrary.  It was submitted that though CVC had  come  up  with  format
and procedure for Vigilance Clearance vide its last affidavit,  the  earlier
PESB Rules and Guidelines for Vigilance Clearance were not adhered to.

18.   Affidavit filed by  the  Additional  Secretary,  CVC  makes  following
assertions:
 “….It is submitted that Vigilance Clearance as such is to be  granted  only
by the concerned Cadre  authorities  and  therefore  maintenance  of  career
profile and vigilance history of the officers  falls  within  their  domain.
The Commission considers  the  vigilance  profile  furnished  by  the  cadre
authorities, duly signed by the CVO.  The inputs are also obtained from  CBI
and  the  concerned  Branches  in  the  Commission.   Based  on   the   said
information, the Commission offers  its  comments  as  to  whether  anything
adverse is available on its records against the officer under  consideration
for empanelment/ selection…..…………

“…As far as the case of Ms.Anju Banerjee is concerned, the  Commission  had,
in view of the circumstances of the case,  vide  its  Letter  No.005-VGC-151
dated 2nd December 2010,  furnished  a  self-contained  note,  bringing  the
available  inputs  to  the  notice  of  the  Ministry  of   Human   Resource
Development.  Letter No.005-VGC-151 dated 2nd December 2010 was sent on  the
basis of the  views  of  the  Commission  at  that  time,  which  were  duly
communicated to the Ministry of Human Resource Development and advised  that
the facts may be placed before the competent authority  while  it  considers
her case for extension of tenure………”


19.    This  affidavit  filed  on  behalf  of  CVC  adverted  to   following
circulars/guidelines/instructions:-
(a)    Office  memorandum  dated  4.08.1988  pertaining   to   scrutiny   of
antecedents of persons recommended for Board level posts  in  Public  Sector
Enterprises  providing, inter alia:-
“It  would   be   the   primary   responsibility   of   the   Administrative
Ministry/Department  concerned  to  ensure  that   the   candidates,   whose
appointment as Functional Director/CMDs  in  public  sector  enterprises  is
recommended for  being  considered  by  the  ACC,  should  be  cleared  from
vigilance angle and that  the  Ministry/Department  concerned  should  bring
this fact specifically to the notice of the  Minister-in-charge  in  respect
of those persons, who are already holding  Board  level  positions  and  who
have been recommended  for  higher  Board  level  positions,  the  Vigilance
Clearance may be  ascertained,  besides  other  sources,  from  the  Central
Vigilance Commission.”

 (b)  CVC circular dated  12.07.1999  which  had  issued  instructions,  the
relevant part being:
“Vigilance Clearance should be obtained from the Commission  in  respect  of
all candidates/officers recommended by  the  PESB  for  appointment  to  any
Board level position in PSEs, irrespective of their holding  a  board  level
or below board level post at that point of time.”

(c)   Guidelines dated  29.10.2007  issued  by  Ministry  of  Personnel  and
Public  Grievances  &  Pensions  (Department  of  Personnel  and   Training)
pertaining to “Vigilance Clearance” to  All  India   Service  Officers,  the
relevant part being:-
“While considering cases for grant of Vigilance Clearance  for  the  purpose
of empanelment  of  AIS  officers  of  a  particular  batch,  the  Vigilance
Clearance/status will continue to be ascertained from the  respective  State
Government in respect of officers serving in connection with the affairs  of
the Central Government, the  vigilance  status/clearance  will  be  obtained
from the respective Ministry.  In all cases, the comments of  the  CVC  will
also be obtained.”

(d)   Guidelines dated  14.12.2007  issued  by  Ministry  of  Personnel  and
Public  Grievances  &  Pensions  (Department  of  Personnel  and   Training)
pertaining to grant of Vigilance  Clearance  to  members  of  Central  Civil
Services/Central Civil Posts providing, inter alia:-
“While considering cases for grant of Vigilance Clearance  for  the  purpose
of empanelment of members of the Central Civil Services/Central Civil  posts
of a particular batch, the Vigilance Clearance/status will  continue  to  be
ascertained from the respective Cadre Authority   In  all  such  cases,  the
comments of the Central Vigilance Commission will be obtained.”


20.   The affidavit further sets out that presently following three  options
are being exercised by CVC while  conveying  its  inputs  on  the  vigilance
status of the concerned officer:
“(A)  In respect of cases where there is no adverse input available  in  the
data  base  of  the  Commission,  feedback  of  CBI  and  vigilance  profile
furnished by the concerned Department, it is conveyed that there is  nothing
adverse on the records of the Commission. (emphasis added)

(B)   In respect of cases where there is any adverse input from  CBI  (viz.,
prosecution launched against the officer, regular case under  investigation,
etc.,)
                                     Or
            Vigilance profile furnished  by  the  Department  indicates  any
disciplinary proceeding in progress or currency of penalty imposed is  still
in force
                                     Or
Data base of the Commission indicates any advice tendered by the  Commission
for initiation of disciplinary proceedings against the officer  is  pending,
denial of clearance is conveyed by the Commission. (emphasis added)

(C)   In respect of cases where there are complaints/cases  pending  at  the
end of the concerned Department, (i.e., where the officer is not clear  from
vigilance angle as per records of the Department),  the  Commission  advises
that the complaints/cases pending at the end of the Department may be  taken
to their logical conclusion and thereafter the Commission may be  approached
for Vigilance Clearance with updated vigilance profile of the officer.   The
Department is therefore intimated that clearance in respect of  the  officer
cannot be considered by the Commission at this stage;”  (emphasis added)


21.   Guidelines dated 29.10.2007 and 14.12.2007,  Office  Memorandum  dated
04.08.1988  and  CVC  Circular  dated  12.07.1999  were  in  existence   and
applicable when the case for grant of extension to Respondent No.4  came  up
for consideration.  The record indicates that the letter dated 2.12.2010  of
CVC made two points namely that there  were  complaints  against  Respondent
No.4 from a Deputy Manager and that Respondent No.4 not  only  put  pressure
on the CVO but also got the post  of  CVO  abolished.     This  letter  then
advised that those facts be placed  before  the  Competent  Authority  while
considering the case of  Respondent  No.4  for  extension  of  tenure.   The
immediate response by letter dated 06.01.2011 was that the concerned  Deputy
Manager was charge-sheeted  prior  to  his  filing  the   complaint  against
Respondent  No.4  and  that  the  complaint   was  not   a   whistleblower’s
complaint.   It was further stated that the post of  CVO  was  abolished  by
the Ed. CIL Board which decision was subsequently endorsed by  the  Ministry
and the position in that regard was communicated to CVC.   In any case,  the
allegations contained in the complaint of the concerned Deputy Manager  were
looked  into  by  a  Committee  of  the  two  senior-most  Officers  of  the
Department which submitted its report and conclusions in respect of each  of
the allegations in the complaint.   The Committee found no merit  in any  of
the allegations.   The  entire  matter  was  thereafter  placed  before  the
Competent Authority who after considering all the issues approved  extension
of tenure of Respondent No.4 for a period of  five  years.   The  record  is
clear that at the initial stage when the  response  from  CVC  was  awaited,
an extension was granted only for three months and  when  the   letter  from
CVC was received,  the matter was  not only clarified  immediately  but  the
allegations in the complaint referred to in  the letter of  CVC   were  also
looked into by the Committee.  The stand of CVC as evident from  its  letter
dated 09.11.2011 is that after having brought the relevant  facets  of   the
matter  to  the  notice  of  the  Competent  Authority  vide  letter   dated
02.12.2010,  CVC  had no further role  in the matter.   The  record  further
shows that right from 06.01.2011 every development was communicated to  CVC.
 We,  therefore,  find nothing wrong in the decision making process  in  the
present matter nor do we find any infraction  in  securing   and  acting  in
terms of the comments of CVC.  We, therefore, reject the  challenge  to  the
orders granting extension to Respondent No.4.

22.   Affirming the view taken by the High Court, we  dismiss  this  appeal.
No order as to costs.

                               ….………………………..CJI
                                              (T.S. Thakur)



                               ..……………………………J.
                            (R. Banumathi)


                                                            ...……………………………J.
                                                     (Uday Umesh Lalit)
New Delhi,
August 02, 2016.

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