Corruption in society and curbing it is the hot talk of our times. Corruption has infested almost every walk of life to the extent that sometimes we are compelled to think whether it has to be accepted as the way of life. Its consequences are grim and most threatening. However, the State has the compulsion of fighting it and cleansing the society of this rampant menace.
Experience has shown that dealing with corruption cases through established legal and administrative mechanism is time consuming and even flawed at times. It was necessary to put a mechanism in place that would make it possible to handle cases of corruption through the legal channel because in a democratic State, no case can be dealt with arbitrarily. Nevertheless, taking into account the obstacles in speedy dispensation of cases of corruption, the State Vigilance Commission came to the conclusion that the Act by way of which it was established needed some amendments that would give the SVC adequate powers to handle corruption cases effectively and expeditiously. As such the SVC proposed the draft amendment to the Act and submitted the same to the State Government in March 2015. However, the GAD has not reacted despite the fact that three years have gone by. The Government has not come out with its reaction either positive or negative but because it is sitting on the file the inference is that the Government does not feel it a serious and worthwhile matter to be treated on priority. That is really hurting. Before we make a comment on the shabby way in which the Government is handling an important issue, let us briefly state what the proposed amendments are and what can the fall be out.
One amendment has been proposed in clause-d of sub-section-1 of section 8 of the Act which would enable the commission to play a proactive role in curbing the menace of corruption by empowering it to take cognizance of the acts of corruption, malpractices and abuse of official position which come to its notice without waiting for formal complaints. The amendment was proposed because in the existing Act though powers under Code of Civil Procedure have been conferred upon the SVC but there is no specific provision in the Act which could be resorted to for ensuring timely submission of documents and reports in compliance to the directions of the Commission. Non availability of any such provision results in delayed submission of documents and reports.
We find that these and other items of amendment are genuine and if accepted and incorporated, it would surely enhance the performance of the State Vigilance Commission. We have often said that the investigation process is slow and fraught with certain lacunae and should be amended so as to make expeditious adjudication of the case. At the same time it appears that the SVO is deficient of adequate funding and manpower. These are important issues because in absence of these two elements investigation becomes prolonged affair and is not recommended at all. Our candid opinion is that the Government should clear the proposal for augmentation of SVO and move the legislature to bring about amendments proposed by the SVC. The question is does the Government want to eradicate corruption in the administration? If the Government does not want well, it can go on with present dilly-dallying posture on the issue for as much of time as it likes. But if it wants the menace to be eradicated then it must provide the means to do so.