CJI nominates Justice A.K. Sikri on panel to decide CBI Director Verma’s fate

It will consider divestment of powers

January 09, 2019 05:39 pm | Updated January 10, 2019 01:01 am IST - New Delhi

Justice A.K. Sikri

Justice A.K. Sikri

Chief Justice of India Ranjan Gogoi has nominated his number two judge in the Supreme Court, Justice A.K. Sikri, to represent him in the high-power committee meeting chaired by Prime Minister Narendra Modi to consider the question of divestment of powers of CBI Director Alok Verma.

The judgment on January 8 concluded that both the CVC and the government acted without authority to divest Mr. Verma of his powers as CBI Director. Prior approval of the committee was a must before transferring a CBI Director or divesting him of his powers. The court ordered the committee to meet and consider the question of Mr. Verma’s divestment at the “earliest, in any case, within a week.”

Mr. Verma himself has only a few days left, till January 31, before his two-year tenure as CBI Director ends.

Chief Justice Gogoi has exercised the option available under Section 4A of the Delhi Special Police Establishment (DSPE) Act to nominate a Supreme Court an SC judge.

The committee would consider the material placed before it, including the CVC inquiry report on Mr. Verma based on a complaint filed by rival CBI officer R.K. Asthana, to decide whether Mr. Verma should be divested from office.

The decision taken in the committee meeting, when it happens, would not be rendered invalid “merely by reason of any vacancy or absence of a member of the Committee”. That means, the absence of either member — in this case, the CJI’s nominee or the Opposition Leader — would not affect the decision of the committee.

Justice Sikri’s decision on Mr. Verma’s fate would prove decisive.

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