Sc orders selection of CBI chief before May 2

KT NEWS SERVICE. Dated: 4/6/2021 11:46:57 PM

NEW DELHI, April 5: The Supreme court on Monday asked the centre to consider holding the meeting of the Prime Minister headed High Power Committee for the selection of regular Director of Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) before May 2 as scheduled.
Observing that the appointment of interim CBI Directors cannot go on, a bench comprising Justice L. Nageswara Rao and Justice Vineet Saran told the Attorney General K.K.Venugopal to consider convening the meeting before May 2,
“Take instructions to hold the meeting earlier... Do it early instead of May 2” the court said while posting the matter for hearing on April 16.
Lawyer Prashant Bhushan appearing for NGO Common Cause alleged that the government is delaying the meeting of the selection committee as it wants to bypass the present Chief Justice of India who is also part of the committee and retiring in April.
“They want the present Chief Justice of India to retire and want the succeeding Chief Justice of India to be in the meeting... They want to bypass the present Chief Justice of India”, Bhushan told the court.
However, Solicitor General Tushar Mehta contested the allegation that there was any attempt to bypass the incumbent Chief Justice telling the court that the meeting was scheduled in May as there are important assembly elections going on.
The court asked for preponing the meeting of the HPC which besides the Prime Minister also includes the leader of opposition and the Chief Justice of India as its members after Attorney General informed the court that the meeting has been fixed for May 2, 2021.
Apparent disapproval of the top court over the manner in which the premier investigating agency was being headed by an interim director came in the course of the hearing of a petition by NGO Common Cause on a plea by NGO Common Cause seeking the appointment of a regular full-time CBI Director instead of existing Additional Director Praveen Sinha - a Gujarat cadre IPS officer - also officiating as investigating agency’s chief.
Seeking the appointment of a regular full-time head of the premier investigating agency, the NGO Common Cause has challenged the appointment of Praveen Sinha as interim-Director of the investigating agency saying that his appointment as officiating Director was in the teeth of the Section 4A of the Delhi Special Police Establishment (DSPE) Act, 1946, that provides mechanism for the appointment if the investigating agency’s head.
The NGO has challenged the February 3 government's decision to appoint Praveen Sinha as interim Director till the appointment of a new Director or until further orders.
In its petition, the NGO has said that the unwillingness of the government to institute a transparent and accountable system for the appointment of CBI Director impairs the right of the people since the CBI is currently probing cases involving rampant corruption in high places in the country.
It also sought the court's direction to ensure that the process of the selection of the new CBI Director is initiated at least one or two month before the incumbent chief of the investigating agency is to demit office.



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