CBI: After authoring verdict can CJI be part of selection committee
New Delhi, Jan 8: With the Supreme Court holding that the decision by the government to send CBI chief Alok Verma on leave was wrong, the ball is now in the court of the selection committee.
The selection committee comprising the Prime Minister, Leader of Opposition and the Chief Justice of India is responsible both for the selection and removal of a CBI chief. The court today made it clear that Verma cannot take any policy decision until the committee meets and decides on his fate.
The court gave the committee a week's time to decide on the matter. However the big question now is can the Chief Justice of India, Ranjan Gogoi be part of the committee considering he is the one who authored today's verdict.
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Before proceedings began, the Registrar General issued a notification saying that the CJI would be on leave. Due to this, the verdict authored by him was read out by Justice Sanjay Kaul, who was on the Bench with Justice K M Joseph.
In the verdict authored by the CJI, he has made comments on the charges agains Verma. Moreover he considered the matter judicially before he decided that the decision to send the chief on exile was wrong.
Legal experts that OneIndia spoke with say that there is nothing that bars the CJI from being part of the committee even if he has authored the verdict. However since he is the author, him being part of the committee could be prejudicial to the matter.
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However in such an instance there is always a provision available. The CJI can recommend a Supreme Court judge to be part of the committee, in case he or she is not available or cannot be part of it. It is not clear if Justice Gogoi would take this option, but experts are of the view that he should.
The fate of Verma now rests with the selection committee. Today's order effectively means that the fate of Verma still hangs in balance and it would be the committee which would decide on his fate. The court said that the decision would have to be taken by the committee within a week.