Cong LS leader in CBI chief selection panel; Prez gives nod

Cong LS leader in CBI chief selection panel; Prez gives nod

Decks have been cleared for appointment of the new CBI Director with President Pranab Mukherjee giving his nod to the amended procedure under which leader of the single-largest opposition party in the Lok Sabha will be included in the selection panel.

With tenure of CBI Director Ranjit Sinha ending tomorrow, the selection panel, which will now have Prime Minister Narendra Modi, leader of single largest opposition party (Congress) in the Lok Sabha Mallikarjun Kharge and Chief Justice of India H L Dattu or his nominee, is likely to take a decision soon on the next chief of the investigating agency.

The Lok Sabha had passed amendment to Delhi Special Police Establishment (Amendment) Bill, 2014, on Wednesday and it got Rajya Sabha nod the next day.
Mukherjee gave his assent to the Bill on Saturday, says a notification issued by the government.

As per the DSPE (Amendment) Act, 2014, the leader of single largest opposition party in Lok Sabha can be included, when no Leader of Opposition (LoP) is recognised, in the panel to recommend the name for the CBI chief.

This means that Congress, which has been demanding the LoP status for its leader, will have a role to play in the selection process for CBI Director.

"No appointment of a Director shall be invalid merely by reason of any vacancy or absence of a member in the committee," the Act said.

The enactment of the Lokpal and Lokayuktas Act (also known as Lokpal Act) this year has amended the DSPE Act, which governs the functioning of the CBI.

Under the existing provisions, the CBI chief has to be appointed by the central government on the basis of recommendation of the selection committee headed by the Prime Minister, and comprising the LoP and the Chief Justice of India or a Supreme Court judge nominated by him, as members.

Earlier, a committee headed by Central Vigilance Commissioner used to recommend names for CBI Director.

The amendments in the DSPE Act are being brought in by the government as there is no recognised LoP in the Lok Sabha. Congress with 44 seats in the 543-member Lok Sabha has emerged as the second largest party after BJP's 280 but fell short by 11 to stake claim for the LoP's post for which it requires a minimum strength of 55.

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