"It is nothing to do with your merit but only with the procedure followed in this case. It should not be an impediment in your service," a bench headed by Chief Justice R M Lodha said when Archana's counsel submitted that she be considered for empanellment.
The bench said there is no need to pass any order after senior advocate Amrendra Sharan, counsel appearing for Archana, submitted that court should pass an order to ensure that she be considered for empanellment.
It said that earlier order passed by the bench has already made it clear that her merit is not under question. The bench granted two weeks time to Centre to file its response on contention of Tamil Nadu, her parent cadre, that it had not relieved Archana to join CBI.
On the last hearing on July 14, the apex court had raised questions on how the senior IPS officer joined CBI when she was allegedly not relieved by Tamil Nadu. The apex court, which on May 9 restrained her from discharging duty, had justified continuation of the order after the state government submitted that it had not relieved the officer.
Archana, a 1980 batch officer from Tamil Nadu cadre, had served in the CBI as Deputy Inspector General and later as its first woman Joint Director and handled various cases pertaining to Economic Offences between 1999 and 2006. The court was hearing a petition filed by journalist Vineet Narain who had submitted that her appointment was arbitrary as the apex court's verdict was disregarded.
Her appointment came under judicial scrutiny as the Supreme Court had on April 28 sought the Centre's explanation for taking the decision disregarding recommendation of the selection committee. The petitioner had contended that the appointment was also done in violation of the Central Vigilance Commission Act and Delhi Special Police Establishment Act (DSPE).
He said the government appointed Archana by overlooking the selection committee's recommendation regarding R K Pachnanda.