The Union government on Wednesday informed the Supreme Court that the CBI will be given functional autonomy and its Director and other officers will be appointed by a committee comprising the Prime Minister, the Leader of the Opposition in the Lok Sabha and the Chief Justice of India or a judge nominated by him.
In its affidavit, the Centre explained the steps it proposed to take to insulate the CBI from government interference in investigation as well by amending the Delhi Special Police Establishment Act.
The Centre filed the affidavit in the petitions filed by advocate Manoharlal Sharma and others in the ‘Coal allotment scam.’
It said the amendments proposed by the GoM on making the CBI an autonomous body was approved by the Cabinet.
During the course of hearing on May 8, the court asked Attorney-General G.E. Vahanvati to take instructions from the government whether law could be enacted to insulate the CBI from extraneous influence and make it an independent organisation and to ensure its functional autonomy.
The A-G said he would file an affidavit in this regard on July 3. Accordingly, the Centre on Wednesday filed a 41-page affidavit placing on record the recommendations of the GoM.
The Centre said: “the CBI Director will hold the post for two years and he cannot be transferred without the consent of the committee. He shall be removed from office only by order of the President on the ground of proved misbehaviour or incapacity, based on the report filed by the Central Vigilance Commissioner.”
The Centre made it clear that there would not be any interference in investigation.
On grant of sanction for prosecution, the affidavit said “the Centre will take a final decision on such requests within three months and an order declining sanction will contain reasons in support thereof.” There would be a Directorate of Prosecution for conducting prosecution of cases.
A significant feature is the setting up of Accountability Commission by the President. It will have three retired Supreme Court or High Court judges as whole time members and the senior-most among them will be designated as the chairperson. The Central Vigilance Commissioner will be the ex-officio member of the Commission, whose members will hold office for three years.
The commission will have the power to entertain and inquire into allegations of misbehaviour, incapacity, impropriety or irregularity on the part of an officer or an employee of the CBI either on a complaint or on a reference from the Centre.
The affidavit said: “the financial powers of the CBI Director will be equivalent to the powers of the Director-General of the Central Reserve Police Force. In accordance with Cabinet approval, the Central government will introduce a Bill containing necessary amendments in Parliament.” The case comes up for hearing on July 10.