No end to govt-CBI standoff on probing babus

No end to govt-CBI standoff on probing babus

The standoff between the government and the CBI  on the statutory provision requiring prior permission for inquiring against joint secretary and above rank officers continued in the Supreme Court on Thursday.

Attorney General G E Vahanvati maintained before a three-judge bench presided over by Justice R M Lodha that Section 6A of the Delhi Special Police Establishment Act providing protection to senior officers was necessary as a safeguard from “vexatious and malicious” actions.
He referred to the 1991 SC verdict in the “Veeraswamy case” and contended that the principle evolved by the apex court to protect judges should also apply to senior officers of the government.

“In this judgment, the Supreme Court said the prevalent safeguards under the law were not adequate and made a prior sanction compulsory. The CBI also accepted this condition then. When names of the judges of higher judiciary came up in the provident fund scam, consent was taken from the CJI. This is the law now and the same principle should apply in cases of officers above joint secretary level,” the AG submitted.

While holding that no honest officer should be harassed, the bench said there was distinction between judges and administrative officers as they acted as guardians of the rights of citizens.

Senior advocate Amrendra Sharan, representing the CBI, submitted before the bench  that it was necessary to read down the provision of Section 6A of DSPE Act to mean that prior sanction was not required in cases where investigation was being monitored by a constitutional court.