Supreme Court reinstates Alok Verma as CBI chief

Debars him from taking policy decision

The Supreme Court on Tuesday reinstated senior IPS officer Alok Verma as the CBI director but ordered him to "cease and desist" from taking a policy decision till a high-powered selection panel headed by the Prime Minister met within a week and decided about his fate. 

A three-judge bench presided over by Chief Justice set aside the orders passed on October 23 by the Central Vigilance Commission and the Department of Personnel and Training divesting him of his power and authority as the CBI chief.

The top court held, "the head of the CBI has to be the role model of independence and integrity which can only be ensured by freedom from all kinds of control and interference."

Relying upon the Delhi Special Police Establishment Act, the CVC Act, the Lokpal and Lokayuktas Act, 2013 and the Vineet Narain judgement on the issue, the top court held that "the director shall not be transferred except with the previous consent of the Committee."

The committee headed by the PM also consists of the CJI and the Leader of Opposition.

In its judgement on separate writ petitions filed by Verma and NGO 'Common Cause', the bench, also comprising Justices Sanjay Kishan Kaul and K M Joseph said the office of CBI director enjoyed independence and a fixed tenure of two-year that cannot be interfered with except with a nod from the selection panel.

"The long history of evolution has shown that the institution of the CBI has been perceived to be necessarily kept away from all kinds of extraneous influences so that it can perform its role as the
premier investigating and prosecuting agency without any fear and favour and in the best public interest," the 44-page judgement authored by the CJI stated.
 
The court said any kind of intermingling and interference into the CBI director's functioning in view of public interest can be undertaken with the view and opinion of the selection committee.

The action against Verma was initiated after his bitter fight with special director Rakesh Asthana came out in open, affecting the image of the premier investigation agency.

 

The court noted that the arguments with regard to allegations against Verma were not advanced as the bench decided to confine itself to the role of selection panel in such a situation and kept the inquiry report of the CVC in a sealed envelope.

However, "the issue of divestment of power and authority of the director, CBI is still open for consideration by the committee."

After reinstating Verma, the bench said, "We further make it explicit that the role  of Verma as the director, CBI during the interregnum will be confined only to the exercise of the ongoing routine functions without any fresh initiative, having no major policy or institutional implications."

The court also directed Verma will cease and desist from  taking any major policy decisions till the decision of the committee permitting such actions and decisions becomes available within the time frame.
 

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Supreme Court reinstates Alok Verma as CBI chief

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