CHENNAI: A Government Order issued on Tuesday has mandated the Directorate of Vigilance and Anti-Corruption (DVAC) to forward all corruption complaints against Tamil Nadu government officials to the Vigilance Commission, which should order a probe only after getting opinion of the State government.
The GO signed by Chief Secretary K Gnanadesikan said the aim was to create a level playing field in dealing with corruption allegations against government officers, irrespective of their rank or grade. While so far only IAS, IPS and higher ranking officers had such immunity, the government’s latest order has extended it to all officers serving in the State government.
“In respect of allegations of corruption against public servants relating to acts made in the official capacities, irrespective of their rank or group, the Directorate of Vigilance and Anti-Corruption shall forward the complaints to the Vigilance Commission, which shall in turn seek and consider the remarks of the government, before ordering an appropriate enquiry by the DVAC,’’ the February 2 GO said.
The order pointed out that a 1997 Supreme Court ruling struck down a section in the Delhi Special Police Establishment Act, which mandated prior approval of the Central government to inquire or investigate any corruption complaints against officers of Joint Secretary and above ranks serving in the Union government. The apex court had held this as section as violative of Article 14 of the Constitution.
While hearing a public interest litigation, which sought scrapping of the immunity offered to officials in higher ranks in the State government, the Madras High Court in December 2015 allowed the TN government to revisit and evolve a non-discriminatory policy.
Following the court’s directive, State government passed the Tuesday order, which nullified three earlier GOs that gave immunity to only top rank officials.