CHENNAI: As directed by the first bench of the Madras High Court earlier, activist and advocate P Pugalenthi has moved the Madras High Court with a contempt application to punish Chief Secretary (CS) for issuing the February 2 Government Order, which included all officers of the State government under the purview of the Prevention of Corruption Act and stipulated that a sanction from the government is necessary for prosecuting officers of the State government, irrespective of their rank and position.
In his petition, Pugalenthi submitted that once the three GOs issued since 1988 were cancelled, the All India Service officers and other government servants are equal in investigating complaints of corruption.
After revoking the three GOs, the Chief Secretary, with the February 2 GO, re-introduced the requirement of “prior approval of the government” in investigating corruption relating to All India Service officers and extended the same not only to other government servants but also to all public servants irrespective of their rank or group.
The Supreme Court, in the 2014 case of Dr Subramanian Swamy, categorically held that Section 6A(1) of the Delhi Special Police Establishment Act, which requires approval of the government to conduct an inquiry or investigation into any offence alleged to have been committed under the Prevention of Corruption Act) is unconstitutional.
Having given an undertaking that a procedure of investigation of complaints of corruption would be evolved in the light of this ruling with reference to All India Service Officers and other government servants, the CS has evolved a procedure to the effect that no complaint of corruption against any public servant (not merely All India Service Officers and other government servants) should be investigated by the Directorate of Vigilance and Anti-Corruption without the prior approval of the government. The content of the February 2 GO would amount to a gross violation of the undertaking contained in its affidavit filed on October 1, 2015. Therefore, the CS has committed a “civil contempt” as defined in the Contempt of Courts Act, 1971, the petitioner contended.