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CJI made ‘statement of law’ at CBI panel

Topics Covered: Separation of powers between various organs dispute redressal mechanisms and institutions.

CJI made ‘statement of law’ at CBI panel:


Context:

The Centre has appointed Maharashtra cadre IPS officer of 1985 batch, Subodh Kumar Jaiswal, currently Director General of the Central Industrial Security Force, as CBI Director for two years.

  • The government has picked him from a panel of three officers who were shortlisted by the Prime Minister-led Appointments Committee of the Cabinet (ACC) consisting of CJI as well as leader of the largest opposition party in the Lok Sabha.

What is the ‘statement of law’ made by the CJI?

In the PM led panel, Chief Justice of India N.V. Ramana opined to avoid officers with less than six months left to retire for appointment as CBI Director. This is being termed as a simple “statement of law”.

  • Because, as per the CJI, the panel’s selection of officers should be able to withstand the “scrutiny of law in the future”.

Supreme Court’s views and judgements in this regard:

  1. Prakash Singh case: The six-month minimum residual tenure rule was introduced by the Supreme Court in a March 13, 2019 order in the Prakash Singh case pertaining to the appointment of DGPs. It was extended to the CBI Director too.
  2. Union of India versus C. Dinakar, 2004: “Ordinarily IPS officers of the senior most four batches in service on the date of retirement of CBI Director, irrespective of their empanelment, shall be eligible for consideration for appointment to the post of CBI Director”.
  3. The Vineet Narain judgment of 1998: The Director is to hold the post for not less than two years. He/she may not be transferred except with the previous consent of the high-level committee.

Implications of this stand by CJI:

The CJI’s reliance on the 2019 order – which the other two members including the prime minister complied with – would mean that the degree of discretion which this government enjoyed before Jaiswal’s selection has now been limited, while appointing persons to sensitive posts which require persons of impeccable character, integrity and professionalism as incumbents.

But, why is this needed?

The apex court had indicated the possibility that officers with only a few days of service may be in an insecure state of mind.

About the CBI Director and his appointment:

  • The Director of the CBI is appointed as per section 4A of the Delhi Special Police Establishment Act of 1946.
  • The Lokpal and Lokayuktas Act (2013) says that the Central Government shall appoint the Director of CBI on the recommendation of a three-member committee consisting of the Prime Minister as Chairperson, the Leader of Opposition in the Lok Sabha and the Chief Justice of India or Judge of the Supreme Court nominated by him.
  • Further, the Delhi Special Police Establishment (Amendment) Act, 2014 made a change in the composition of the committee related to the appointment of the Director of C.B.I. It states that where there is no recognized leader of opposition in the Lok Sabha, then the leader of the single largest opposition party in the Lok Sabha would be a member of that committee.

 

Insta curious:

  • It is important to know which all other important appointments are made by The Appointments Committee of the Cabinet (ACC). Also know this important fact the ACC is one of the 8 Cabinet Committees that India currently has.
  • Having a balanced opinion on CBI’s autonomy is also important. Read here.

 

InstaLinks:

Prelims Link:

  1. The establishment of the CBI was recommended by?
  2. The CBI comes under the administrative control of?
  3. Is it a statutory body?
  4. Committee to select the director of CBI.
  5. Vineet Narain’s judgment is related to?
  6. Prakash Singh Case verdict- overview.

Mains Link:

Why do you think an officer to be appointed as the CBI Director should have a minimum of six months tenure? Discuss.

Sources: the Hindu.