The Top Court on Friday expressed concern and asked the Centre why it has not appointed a regular CBI director. The Apex Court termed it as “adverse” to the appointment of interim chief for the agency for a long period. Supreme Court bench comprising Justice Arun Mishra and Naveen Sinha said the post of CBI director is sensitive and the government should have appointed a regular director by now.
Attorney General K K Venugopal appearing for the Centre told the bench that a high-powered committee, headed by the prime minister, will hold a meeting on Friday to select a new CBI director. He also told the court that the Centre had taken the approval of the high-powered committee before appointing IPS officer M Nageswara Rao as the interim CBI director.
The Selection Committee comprising Prime Minister Narendra Modi, Chief Justice Ranjan Gogoi and Congress Leader, representing Opposition Mallikarjun Kharge will meet Today (Friday) to select new CBI Chief.
Delhi: Selection committee meeting for the new Director of Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) will be held today*. (original tweet will be deleted) https://t.co/CjsJiO58qj
— ANI (@ANI) February 1, 2019
The Supreme Court Bench said the process of appointing new CBI Director should have been over by now as it was already known that earlier CBI Chief [Alok Verma] was slated to retire by January. The court also told the attorney general that the new CBI director who would be appointed must “trace the movements of files” during the period when former CBI chief Alok Kumar Verma was reinstated to the post for two days.
The attorney general placed before the bench in a sealed cover the minutes of the meeting of the high-powered committee held earlier. The last meeting of the committee took place on January 24 but it remained “inconclusive”.
Senior Advocate Prashant Bhushan, appearing for the petitioner NGO, told the bench that the apex court must also look into the aspect of transparency in the process of appointing the CBI Chief. On Which, Bench asserted, ‘You want immediate appointment of CBI Chief, let it be done first. If you would any grievances after the appointment that procedure is not followed that you can challenge it later’.
The top court on Thursday had set up a fresh bench headed by Justice Arun Mishra to hear a petition challenging the Centre’s decision to appoint Rao as interim CBI director after The new Bench was necessitated after Justice NV Ramana opts out from the hearing the plea challenging the appointment of Nageshwar Rao as Interim CBI Chief Nageshwar Rao.
Justice NV Ramana became the third Judge to recused from the hearing. Prior to this, Chief Justice Ranjan Gogoi and Justice Sikri opted out from the case.
The NGO in its petition has sought specific mechanisms to ensure transparency in the process of appointing the CBI director. It has alleged that Rao’s appointment was not made on the basis of recommendations of the high-powered selection committee.
Rao was made Interim CBI Chief by high powered Panel that sacked Alok Verma from the CBI Top Post on January 10.