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The Supreme Court today refused to interfere with the decision of the high-powered committee to appoint M Nageswara Rao as Interim Director of the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI).
Nageswara Rao was appointed Interim Director after then CBI Director Alok Verma was transferred out of the agency. This appointment was challenged before the Supreme Court, with the petitioners calling for greater transparency in appointments to the post.
The Court noted that a regular Director of the CBI has now been appointed and therefore “no interference is called for”.
The Court refused to set out any guidelines for bringing in more transparency in appointments to the post of CBI Director.
The judgment was delivered by a Bench of Justices Arun Mishra and Navin Sinha.
The petition filed by NGO Common Cause and RTI Activist Anjali Bhardwaj challenged the appointment of M Nageswara Rao as Interim Director after then CBI Director Alok Verma had resigned from the post days after being reinstated. The petitioners had prayed for the process of appointment to this post to be made more transparent.
During the course of the pendency of this petition, a new Director was appointed to head the CBI, and Rao was subsequently appointed Additional Director of the agency.
This case saw recusal by three judges. First, Chief Justice of India Ranjan Gogoi recused himself on account of being part of the Selection Committee set up to appoint the Director of CBI.
The petition was then placed before the Bench presided over by Justice AK Sikri, who had to recuse himself from the case on account of his presence on the Committee that examined the question of suitability of Alok Verma as the Director of CBI. The case subsequently came before Justice NV Ramana, who recused himself on the ground that he knew Rao personally. Hence, the case was eventually listed before the bench presided by Justice Mishra.
Things had taken a controversial turn during the hearing of this case, with Attorney General KK Venugopal filing a contempt petition against Prashant Bhushan for his tweets in the case.
Read the judgment below.