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J&K Vigilance Commission all set to become defunct

Khoda, Jerath retiring on Feb 21, Gous-ul-Nisa by ending March

*Govt yet to begin exercise for new incumbents

Mohinder Verma

JAMMU, Feb 13: Jammu and Kashmir State Vigilance Commission is all set to become defunct as Chief Vigilance Commissioner and one Vigilance Commissioner are completing term within next eight days and another Vigilance Commissioner’s tenure will come to an end on March 31, 2017 but the PDP-BJP Coalition Government has yet not initiated any exercise to identify the new incumbents for this vital Commission.
The Jammu and Kashmir State Vigilance Commission was created vide SRO-59 dated February 15, 2011 issued by the General Administration Department in exercise of the powers conferred under Sub-Section-1 of Section 3 of the Jammu and Kashmir State Vigilance Commission Act, 2011, which received the assent of the Governor N N Vohra on January 19, 2011.
The Act provides for the constitution of State Vigilance Commission to inquire or cause inquiries to be conducted into offences alleged to have been committed under the Prevention of Corruption Act, 2006 by the public servants, corporations established in the State by or under any Act of the Parliament or the Act of State Legislature, Government companies, societies and local authorities owned or controlled by the Government.
However, for two years State Vigilance Commission could not be made functional because of dilly-dallying approach of the then Government regarding appointment of first ever Chief Vigilance Commissioner (CVC) and two Vigilance Commissioners.
Vide SRO-48 and SRO-49 dated February 11, 2013, Governor N N Vohra appointed Kuldeep Khoda, former Director General of Police J&K and R K Jerath, former IAS officer as first ever Chief Vigilance Commissioner and Vigilance Commissioner respectively. Gous-ul-Nisa Jeelani, former Principal District and Sessions Judge, was appointed as second Vigilance Commissioner vide SRO-353 dated August 1, 2013.
Like the State Information Commission (SIC), the J&K State Vigilance Commission is also going to become defunct as Chief Vigilance Commissioner Kuldeep Khoda and one Vigilance Commissioner R K Jerath are completing their tenure on February 21, 2017 while as second Vigilance Commissioner Gous-ul-Nisa Jeelani’s term will end on March 31, 2017, sources told EXCELSIOR.
“Despite being aware of the fact that this vital Commission is all set to become defunct the PDP-BJP Coalition Government has yet not initiated any step for selection of new incumbents”, sources said, adding “due to this Vigilance Commission will meet the fate of State Information Commission, which is lying completely defunct for the past quite long time”.
They disclosed that General Administration Department has yet not prepared panel of persons to be considered for the posts of Chief Vigilance Commissioner and two Vigilance Commissioners by the high-powered committee as per Section 4 of J&K State Vigilance Commission Act, 2011.
The panel of the officers is required to be first cleared by committee headed by Chief Minister and comprising of a senior Minister to be nominated by the Chief Minister, the Minister for Law and Parliamentary Affairs and Leader of the Opposition in the State Legislative Assembly and then placed before the State Cabinet for appointment.
Stating that functioning of Vigilance Commission will start suffering from February 21 itself, sources said that though Gous-ul-Nisa Jeelani will remain in the Commission till March 31, 2017 but she cannot handle all the affairs of the Commission alone.
The State Vigilance Commission Act states that in the absence of Chief Vigilance Commissioner the Vigilance Commissioner can discharge the functions of the CVC only when the Governor by way of formal notification authorizes him/her for the same.
“The defunct State Vigilance Commission will also leave adverse impact on the functioning of the State Vigilance Organization as SVC, as per the provisions of the Act, is empowered to exercise superintendence over the functioning of SVO in so far as it relates to the investigation of offences  alleged to have been committed under the Prevention of Corruption Act”, sources said, adding “moreover, the SVC has the powers to review the progress of investigations conducted by the SVO into offences alleged to have been committed under Prevention of Corruption Act and review the progress of applications pending with the competent authorities for sanction of prosecution”.
It is worthwhile to mention here that the Chief Vigilance Commissioner shall be appointed from amongst the persons who are holding or have held a post in IAS or a post in any civil services of the Union or the State not below the rank of a Principal Secretary to Government having knowledge and experience in the matters relating to vigilance, law and finance.
Similarly, the Vigilance Commissioners shall be appointed from amongst the persons who are holding a post in IAS or post in any civil services of the Union or the State not below the rank of a Commissioner/ Secretary to Government having knowledge and experience in the matters relating to vigilance, law and finance.

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