New Delhi: The Central Vigilance Commission (CVC) has issued instructions to all heads of departments and Chief Vigilance Officers (CVOs) that no action should be taken on anonymous and pseudonymous complaints as per Commission’s present instructions issued on 25 November, 2014 and such complaints should be filed.
This clarification has been issued by the CVC on 7 March 2016 based on the opinion received from the Attorney General of India.
The CVC has clarified that in cases where action was initiated on anonymous or pseudonymous complaints priorto the issue of CVC’s circular on 29 June 1999 and was pending on this date, it can be pursued to its logical end.
Further, the CVC has stated through its circular that in cases where action was initiated on anonymous complaints between the period 11 October 2002 and 25 November 2014 with the prior concurrence of CVC but is pending, further action is permissible in such complaints.
The CVC has categorically pointed out that material or evidence gathered durinbg the investigation of anonymous complaints when the action was prohibited on such complaints between 29 June 1999 and 11 October 2002, or where such enquiry was initiated without the approval of CVC, can be utilised for further initiation of disciplinary proceedings on misconducts notced during the course of inquiry or investigation.
CVC had issued a circular on 25 November 2014 withdrawing a circular of 11 October 2002 and reiterated previous circulars of 29 June 1999 and 31 January 2002 directing that no action shoudl be taken on anonymous and pseudonymous complaints and that such complaints be filed.
The Department of personnel and Training through its order on 18 October 2013 had also stated that no action is required to be taken on anonymous complaints, irrespective of the nature off allegations and such complaints need to be simply filed.
CVC had issued a circular on 11 October 2002 after reviewing its earlier instructions of 1999 stating that if any department or organisation proposed to look into the verifiable facts alleged in anonymous complaints, it had to refer the matter to the Commission to seek concurrence.
Earlier on 29 September 2002, Department of Personnel and Training had issued instructions that no action is required on anonymous or pseudonymous complaints in general but provided the option to inquire into such complaints that contained verifiable details.
Significantly in its initial circular on 29 June 1999, CVC had prescribed that no action sould be taken on anonymous complaints The Commission had again reiterated on 31 January 2002 that under no circumstances should any investigation be commenced on anonymous complaints.
In one instance, the Central Administratve Tribunal (CAT), Principal Bench, Delhi had on 20 June 2005 quashed the charge-sheet issued on 14 October 2004 to the delinquent officer based on an anonymous complaints dated 18 february 1997 and 2 April 1997. This was on the basis of circulars issued by the CVC.
Even the High Court agreed with the findings and observations of CAT and dismissed the department’s Writ petition filed against the CAT order. Subsequently the Supreme Court also dismissed the department’s Civil Appeal in the matter. CAT’s decision was also based on a judgement of the Madras High Court in another case (26 September 2003) where it was observed that preliminary enquiry report of 25 May 2000 based on an anonymous complaint was subsequent to the CVC’s circular of 29 June 1999 and was therefore liable to be quashed.