CBI vs CBI: Challenge to Alok Verma ouster [Live Updates from the Supreme Court]
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CBI vs CBI: Challenge to Alok Verma ouster [Live Updates from the Supreme Court]

Bar & Bench

The cases filed by Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) Director Alok Verma and NGO Common Cause challenging the decision of the Central government to send Verma on leave is being heard at the Supreme Court.

In October, the Court had ordered that the Central Vigilance Commission (CVC) inquiry initiated against Verma be completed within two weeks under the supervision of Justice (Retd.) AK Patnaik, to find out if there is a prima facie case made out against Verma.

On November 16, the Bench of Chief Justice of India Ranjan Gogoi and Justices Sanjay Kishan Kaul and KM Joseph had directed that a copy of the CVC report be served on Alok Verma so that he can respond to it. Alok Verma submitted his response to the CVC report in a sealed cover on November 19.

So far, arguments in the case have been made by senior counsel Fali Nariman, Dushyant Dave, Kapil Sibal and Rajeev Dhavan. Attorney General KK Venugopal had also commenced arguments defending the state’s decision to send Verma on leave.

The arguments will continue today. Notably, the Court has asked that the arguments focus on the aspect of deference to the Special Committee which selects the CBI Director before taking decisions concerning his transfer/sending him on leave.

Live updates of today’s hearing follow:

Hearing commences in Supreme Court.

  • Attorney General KK Venugopal resumes his submissions.
  • The decision of the Central government was taken after application of an independent mind. The Centre was conscious that any action should not result in eroding nation’s faith in CBI, AG KK Venugopal.
  • After carefully examining material made available to Centre and after careful consideration of the issues, Centre was satisfied that a situation had arisen wherein Centre had to take action to divest Alok Verma, AG KK Venugopal.
  • The Central govt was very concerned about what was happening in CBI because two top officers were fighting with each other. They did not keep it under the wraps instead went public with it. Media had a field day due to that, AG KK Venugopal.
  • Our objective was to ensure that public confidence in the institution is not eroded, so both officers were sent on leave, AG KK Venugopal.
  • There is no transfer of Verma, a transfer has to be from one place to another, AG KK Venugopal.
  • Transfer in relation to service is a change in place of employment, AG KK Venugopal placing reliance on an earlier judgment.
  • To contend that it is in substance and effect a transfer is wholly unjustified, KK Venugopal.
  • AG KK Venugopal now making submissions on the scope of power of superintendence.
  • The concept of superintendence is of wide ambit and the Central government acted within its jurisdiction, AG KK Venugopal.
  • It was absolutely essential for the Union of India to step in and act and we did so; how it would have ended otherwise, nobody can say, AG KK Venugopal.
  • Justice KM Joseph quizzes AG on the power of superintendence of Centre over CBI. AG reiterates his earlier submissions, concludes his arguments.
  • Solicitor General Tushar Mehta now making submissions on behalf of CVC.
  • Mehta making submissions on the statutory status of CVC. CVC is entrusted with the responsibility of superintendence over CBI, SG Tushar Mehta.
  • Mehta citing Vineet Narain judgment to buttress his case.
  • CVC has been given power of superintendence and power to give directions. The only limitation is that in individual cases, it cannot give directions on how a probe should be conducted, SG Tushar Mehta.
  • Not only that CVC has jurisdiction but also would have been answerable to President of India if it had not acted, SG Tushar Mehta.
  • Bench rises for the day, hearing to resume tomorrow.
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