Plea in Supreme Court seeks appointment of regular CBI Director through high-power panel

A view of the Supreme Court of India. File   | Photo Credit: Shanker Chakravarty

A writ petition has been filed in the Supreme Court seeking the appointment of a regular CBI Director through the high-power selection committee of the Prime Minister, the Chief Justice of India and the Leader of the Opposition.

“The government has failed to appoint the Director of the CBI as per Section 4A of the Delhi Special Police Establishment Act of 1946 on the expiry of the term of the last incumbent, Rishi Kumar Shukla, on February 2, 2021,” NGO Common Cause, represented by advocate Prashant Bhushan, said.

The petition pointed out that instead of a regular appointment to the top CBI post, the government appointed Praveen Sinha on February 3 as an “interim/acting CBI Director.”

The petition said such an interim appointment through an executive order was not envisaged in the statutory scheme of the 1946 Act. The CBI Director is a sensitive post. The Director is the final authority in the organisation in several sensitive investigations.

The premier investigative agency should function independently outside the pale of the Executive or political powers. The NGO said this was exactly why a high-powered committee selects the CBI Director.

The petition also highlighted the “determined efforts” of the Supreme Court in the past to “enhance the functional autonomy of the CBI and limit the extent of executive discretion in the matter of appointment of this key functionary.”

It said the court should direct the introduction of a mechanism to ensure that the process of selection of CBI Director is completed one or two months in advance of the retirement of the incumbent.

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Printable version | Apr 22, 2021 8:28:13 AM |

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