Attorney General Mukul Rohatgi on Tuesday informed the Supreme Court that he had advised the Centre to consider the promotion of Archana Ramasundaram as the DGP without prejudice to the pendency of the writ petition challenging her appointment as Additional Director in the CBI.
The AG told a three-judge Bench of Chief Justice R.M. Lodha and Justices Kurian Joseph and Rohinton Nariman, “I have told the Centre to go ahead with her promotion as there was no bar in appointing her as the DGP. If they (the Centre) follow my advice they may appoint her as DGP.”
The AG was responding to the plea made earlier by senior counsel Siddharth Luthra, appearing for Ms. Archana that though she had been empanelled for the post of DGP, she could not get her promotion because of the fight between the Centre and Tamil Nadu government. He said four other IPS officers who were empanelled had been promoted as DGP and she could not be appointed as DGP without the Centre withdrawing the earlier order appointing her as Additional Director of CBI. The CJI told the AG “I don’t think that a senior officer should suffer like this.”
At the outset the AG defended her appointment as Additional Director of CBI and pleaded for allowing her to discharge the duties. He said there was violation in the procedure. He said the Tamil Nadu government after agreeing for her deputation in October 2013 remained silent for over three months after the Cabinet Committee on Appointments recommended her appointment as Additional Director.
Senior counsel Shekar Naphade, appearing for the Tamil Nadu government, however, opposed her appointment and said she continued to be an officer in the State as she had not been relieved. He said the Centre could not appoint her merely because of the silence of the State government.
Acting on a writ petition filed by journalist Vineet Narain, the court on May 9, 2014 had observed that the petitioner had made out a strong prima facie that Ms. Ramasundaram’s appointment was not in accordance with the procedure contemplated under the Delhi Special Police Establishment Act and restrained her from discharging her functions.
The CJI told the AG, “How did she join without being relieved by Tamil Nadu? This is the further flaw in the appointment brought to our notice by the State. She cannot join without being permitted. If the State government has not given permission then her joining the CBI is meaningless. It is not joining in the eye of the law. This is not a simple case. This relates to very federal structure.”
When the AG said the government would consider her promotion as DGP, the court adjourned the hearing to October 14 to enable the Centre to take a decision by then.