SC poser on PIL over CBI appointment

SC poser on PIL over CBI appointment

The Supreme Court on Monday sought the government’s response on a PIL challenging appointment of Archana Ramasundaram as additional director of the CBI in contravention of recommendation by a statutory committee on the eve of general elections.

A three-judge bench presided over by Chief Justice R M Lodha admitted the petition filed by anti-corruption activist and journalist Vineet Narain, who sought direction to the Centre for filling up posts from the SP-level to that of the CBI director on the recommendation of the committee as mandated under the Delhi Special Police Establishment (DSPE) Act.

The court also issued notice to the Union government, department of personnel and training (DoPT), central vigilance commissioner, Appointments Committee of the Cabinet (ACC) and to Ramasundaram.

Senior advocate K K Venugopal, appearing for Narain, urged the court to interpret the provisions of the DSPE Act, the law governing the CBI, in the manner in which the government could not appoint a person to the post of additional director without recommendation from the high-powered committee.

 “It was learnt that a unanimous recommendation of the high-powered committee to appoint R K Panchanda to the post of additional director was turned down by the government. In total violation of the DSPE Act, the government decided to appoint Ramasundaram,” the petition filed by Narain alleged.

“The attempt is being made to control the will of the candidate whom this largesse is being conferred. It should also be remembered this is being done on the eve of general elections in the country,” the petition added.

It also claimed that the government was tampering with the independence and autonomy of CBI by adopting a procedure for appointment of its officers which were in blatant contravention of the spirit of the 1997 Vineet Narain judgment.

The landmark verdict was followed by the Central Vigilance Commission Act, 2003, which mandated a panel for appointment of the CBI director.

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