SC for regular CBI dir; refuses to lay down guidelines

SC for regular CBI dir; refuses to lay down guidelines

A bench comprising justices Arun Mishra and Naveen Sinha said the post of CBI director was sensitive and the government should have appointed a regular director by now.

The Supreme Court on Friday told the Union government that an interim CBI director cannot continue for long and it should promptly appoint a regular head for the premier investigating agency.

The government, for its part, submitted before the court that interim director M Nagaeshwara Rao had been appointed after taking a nod from a high-powered selection panel headed by Prime Minister and comprising CJI or his nominee and the leader of the opposition.

Attorney General K K Venugopal also submitted that the selection panel was meeting on Friday to select the new regular director.

Advocate Prashant Bhushan, who challenged the appointment of Rao as interim director, submitted before a bench of Justices Arun Mishra and Navin Sinha that he was not aware of the permission having been taken from the panel.

Arguing for NGO 'Common Cause' and RTI activist Anjali Bharadwaj, Bhushan then stressed on other prayers in his PIL by contending that the court should lay down guidelines to ensure transparency in appointment of the CBI director.

“We can't be running the administration. We are not going to lay down any guideline. Let a cause of action arise first,” the bench told him, adding there were sufficient measures to ensure fair procedure in the appointment of the CBI director.

Venugopal said the appointment of the CBI director could be made on Friday. He also submitted the minutes of the high-powered selection panel's meeting attended by PM, Justice A K Sikri as CJI's nominee and Mallikarjun Kharge as leader of the opposition, to point out the committee has given its permission for the appointment of Rao as interim director.

As the matter was taken by a new bench after the recusal of the CJI and Justice Sikri, the court said, “The incharge cannot continue for long. We can understand if the appointment is for two or three days. The CBI director is an important post. What had happened in the CBI was totally unbecoming of the premier investigating agency.”

Maintaining that the court was averse to an interim director, it said the process for appointment should have been over as incumbent was retiring in January. The court said the movement of files on decisions taken by Verma must be examined when he was reinstated for two days' time.

The court posted the matter for Wednesday for further hearing as the government maintained the regular CBI director would be appointed by then.