CBI will get new Director “very soon”, Centre tells Supreme Court

CBI will get new Director “very soon”, Centre tells Supreme Court

The Central government today informed the Supreme Court that the Selection Committee comprising the Prime Minister of India, the Leader of Opposition, and the Chief Justice of India will be meeting today to select the new Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) Director.

This was stated by Attorney General KK Venugopal while the Court was hearing the petition filed by NGO Common Cause praying for the removal of M  Nageshwar Rao as Interim Director of the CBI.

When the matter was taken up today, the Court made it clear that the Interim Director cannot continue forever,  and that a regular Director has to be appointed.

“Interim Director cannot continue for so long. Seven or ten days is fine. 

You should have made the appointment (of regular Director)”, remarked Justice Arun Mishra.

Attorney General KK Venugopal then told the Court that the Selection Committee is meeting today to make the appointment.

The Court then said that it will post the case for Monday next week.

Advocate Prashant Bhushan, appearing for the petitioner, then pressed for another prayer raised in the petition – regarding ensuring greater transparency in the appointment of the CBI Director.

The petitioner has prayed that records of deliberations and criteria related to short-listing and selection of the Director, CBI be recorded and made available to citizens in consonance with the provisions of the Right to Information Act (RTI Act).

The Court was, however, not keen to entertain that prayer, leading to a lengthy discussion between the Bench and Bhushan.

The Bench maintained that Bhushan could raise the issue of transparency in an appropriate case, and that it was not inclined to lay down general guidelines in this case.

“Let a concrete cause of action arise”, the Bench remarked.

“When will such a cause of action arise?”, asked Bhushan, while maintaining that this was one such a case.

The Bench said that the Vineet Narain judgment has already laid down guidelines for transparency. However, Bhushan disagreed, stating that Vineet Narain lays down guidelines for independence of office of the CBI Director, and not on transparency in the appointment.

He also said that it was not his intention to challenge the impending appointment of the CBI Director. Instead, he wanted guidelines to ensure transparency in future appointments.

Eventually, the Court noted the submission of Attorney General regarding the upcoming meeting of the Selection Committee.

It then posted the case for further hearing on Wednesday next week.

Interestingly, the Attorney General also told the Court that the Selection Committee had been consulted for the appointment of M Nageshwar Rao as interim CBI Director. The petitioner had, in its petition, alleged that the Committee was bypassed by the Union government in appointing M Nageshwar Rao as interim Director.

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