LS passes bill to exclude LoP from selection of CBI chief

LS passes bill to exclude LoP from selection of CBI chief

Amid Opposition uproar, the Lok Sabha on Wednesday passed a bill to amend a law which stipulates that all three members of a panel that chooses the CBI chief must be present for the selection procedure to be valid.

With controversial CBI chief Ranjit Sinha set to retire on December 2, the Delhi Special Police Establishment (Amendment) Bill, 2014, was passed on the floor of the House through a voice vote.

Before this, with vehement protests from the Opposition, a division of votes was carried out, which showed that 147 out of 276 members favoured the bill, while as many as 88 abstained from voting. An amendment to the bill, moved by Biju Janata Dal MP Tathagat Satpathy, was also defeated through a division of votes as 101 members voted against while only 34 were in favour.

In the bill, the government seeks to include the leader of the single largest opposition party in the three-member committee which selects the CBI director, as there is no recognised leader of opposition in the Lok Sabha. The prime minister and chief justice of India are also on the selection panel, but the new amendment bill stipulates that a CBI chief can now be selected even if only one member is present.

The Congress, which is the single largest opposition party in the Lok Sabha, termed the move “criminal” and said the amendment bill had been brought with “malafide intentions”.

“No appointment of a director shall be invalid merely by reason of any vacancy or absence of a member in the committee. What is the reason given? Let them show one enactment where such a legislative practice has been followed,” Congress MP M Veerappa Moily challenged during a discussion on the bill earlier.

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