NEW DELHI: The Supreme Court on Monday orally observed that an acting CBI Director cannot go on for a long time and asked the Centre to consider convening a high-power committee headed by the Prime Minister for the appointment of CBI Director.
On March 12, the Supreme Court had sought reply from the Centre on a plea by an NGO Common Cause, represented by advocate Prashant Bhushan, seeking direction to immediately appoint a regular CBI director.
Bhushan has contended that a proper appointment as per the statutory law is necessary for upholding the rule of law and for enforcement of the rights of the citizens under Articles 14 and 21 of the Constitution.
A bench headed by L. Nageswara Rao orally told Attorney General K.K. Venugopal, "There is a point in what Bhushan says."
AG responded that senior-most person has been appointed as CBI interim director and informed the court that the high-powered committee meeting will be convened after May 2. The top court asked Centre to consider taking decision on appointment of CBI Director.
Bhushan alleged that the Central government is delaying the high-power committee, as it wants to bypass the present Chief Justice, who is also part of the committee and scheduled to retire on April 23.
Solicitor General Tushar Mehta termed Bhushan's arguments as absurd and the meeting has been convened in May, in the backdrop of ongoing state polls. "Unscrupulous public-spirited citizens are making accusations left, right and centre against individuals and institutions," said Mehta. The top court said it will continue to hear the matter next week on Friday.
"Hence, this Court and later on Parliament have made determined efforts to enhance the functional autonomy of the CBI Director and limit the extent of executive discretion in the matter of appointment of this key functionary," said the NGO's plea.
The NGO had contended that the government must be directed to comply with the mandate of the law and call for the meeting of the selection committee as per the DSPE Act, 1946 as amended by Lokpal Act, 2013. "The ad hoc appointment of Praveen Sinha as the Interim/Acting CBI Director deserves to be set aside," added the plea.
The NGO argued that the government has failed to appoint a regular CBI Director as per section 4A of the Delhi Special Police Establishment (DSPE) Act, on the expiry of term of Rishi Kumar Shukla on February 2 and instead appointed Praveen Sinha as an interim Director. (IANS)