Supreme Court: Govt has to be fair in deciding CBI director's fate

Dec 07, 2018, 15:00 IST | Agencies

Supreme Court reserves its judgment on petition moved by CBI Director Alok Verma challenging Centre’s decision of divesting him of all powers

Supreme Court: Govt has to be fair in deciding CBI director's fate
Members of Karnataka National Congress Party hold placards during a protest in front of the CBI office in Bangalore on Oct 26. Pic/AFP

The Supreme Court on Thursday reserved its judgment on the petition moved by CBI Director Alok Verma, challenging the Centre's decision to divest him of all powers and sending him on leave. A bench headed by Chief Justice Ranjan Gogoi concluded the arguments on behalf of Verma, Centre, Central Vigilance Commission (CVC) and others who were party in the matter.

The court also heard the petition moved by NGO Common Cause, which had sought a court-monitored SIT probe into allegations of corruption against various CBI officers, including Special Director Rakesh Asthana. Extraordinary situations need extraordinary remedies, the CVC told the Supreme Court during the hearing. Solicitor General Tushar Mehta, appearing for the CVC, referred to apex court judgments and laws governing the CBI and said the Commission's superintendence (over the CBI) encompasses "surprise, extraordinary situations". A bench headed by Chief Justice Ranjan Gogoi said Attorney General K K Venugopal told the court that circumstances culminating in the situation had started in July. "Essence of the government action must be in the interest of the institution," the bench said.

The top court said it was not that the fight between the CBI Director and Special Director Rakesh Asthana emerged overnight, forcing the government to divest the director of powers without consulting the Selection Committee. It further said the government has to be "fair" and asked what the difficulty was in consulting the Selection Committee before divesting the CBI director of his power. "The essence of every government action should be to adopt the best course," the top court said.

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