|More than integrity|
|Saturday, 19 March 2011 00:00|
After the Supreme Court’s strictures on the CVC’s appointment, the government has decided to expand the search to include non-civil servants, FE reported on Friday, and has planned a 3-stage clearance procedure before the high-powered selection committee—the PM, the home minister and the leader of the Opposition—meets to finalise the selection. This includes an extended vigilance clearance from the Cadre Controlling Authority—had this happened in Thomas’s case, the Kerala case would have come to light immediately, instead of having to be brought up by Sushma Swaraj. CBI/IB clearances are also being suggested.
What is not clear, however, is whether any change is contemplated in the procedure to judge the competence of the candidates in the short-list. Indeed, in the case of Thomas, the palmolein issue was only one aspect of the case. There was, as this newspaper has pointed out before, no mention of the role he had played as telecom secretary in trying to get the CAG to stop auditing the 2G licensing; nor was there any mention of the fact that he had failed to impose monetary penalties or to cancel licences of firms that didn’t roll out their networks. Indeed, since the Attorney General sought to play down the CAG issue by telling the Supreme Court that Thomas was merely “processing (the) file in a normal routine manner”, what’s not clear is whether candidates get higher marks for such routine processing or whether marks are cut for such lack of application of mind, not to mention spine. Indeed, when the high-powered committee met, all it had was the bare-basic CVs of three candidates—PJ Thomas, Bijoy Chatterjee and Subbaroyan Krishnan. The CVs told you that Thomas had done a one-week course in “MS Office 97 and Internet Applications” at the NIC and Chatterjee had done a one-week course at the CMC in “Science & Technology” (whatever that might mean). But they didn’t tell you if either had done anything more than routine processing of files in any of the previous jobs these two worthies had held. The CVC’s job, or indeed any post of any consequence, requires not just a person of integrity, it requires a person who has demonstrated ability to think out of the box, a person of administrative and leadership qualities, and a lot more. There is nothing to show any thinking is being done on how to screen candidates on this aspect.