CBI war: Only intent was to protect faith of people in agency, Centre tells SC
New Delhi, Nov 29: Hearing in the CBI vs CBI case has begun in the Supreme Court. Proceedings began with Alok Verma distancing himself from the petition filed by M K Sinha who had challenged his transfer and also made allegations against several officers including the National Security Advisor.
Appearing for exiled CBI chief, Alok Verma, senior counsel, Fali S Nariman said that it may not have been appropriate for the plea ( Sinha) to be published in the media, even before the court took a look at it.
This was however opposed by senior advocate, Rajeev Dhawan, who is representing A K Bassi, another CBI officer who had challenged his transfer to Port Blair.
Nariman argued about the independence of the CBI and also about the fixed two year tenure of CBI chiefs.
Nariman said that the media cannot be barred from reporting a case, but a 2012 verdict by Justice S H Kapadia says that the publication can be postponed. He suggested to the court that a rule can be formed to postpone media reporting in some cases where scandalous allegations are made. Dhawan however said that he has some serious reservations about Nariman's advise. Chief Justice of India, Ranjan Gogoi however said that the court does not intend to pass any orders.
Coming back to the arguments, Nariman said that the amended Delhi Special Police.
Establishment Act requires the government to take prior approval of a panel comprising the Prime Minister, CJI and Leader of Opposition before a CBI director is unsettled during his two year statutory term. How was Verma sent on leave without the prior approval of the panel, Nariman argued.
The CJI said that the court would hear primarily the point raised by Nariman on whether the consent of a panel headed by the PM was mandatory.
Kapil Sibal while advancing arguments for Mallikarjua Kharge who has also challenged the decision against Verma said that the CVC cannot override the DSPE provisions, which makes it mandatory to consult the PM led panel before transferring a director. While citing the CVC act, he said that the provisions under Section 8 (1) (a) and (d) gives the CVC limited power of superintendence over the CBI.
The CJI asked if the Sibal was advancing a proposition that reference to deletion committee is an absolute principle. Is there no exception and the CBI director cannot be touched, in whatever circumstance without referring to the panel, the CJI asked to which Sibal said, 'yes.' Sibal also added that even if a CBI director is caught red-handed the government has no choice but to go to the panel.
Sibal further said that the government wants to destroy the institution under the pretext that they are protecting it.
Attorney General K K Venugopal submitted that the primary concern was to protect the faith of the people in the CBI.
The top were at serious logger heads with each other and the public opinion had become negative. This is why the government had to intervene, the AG said. The AG also said that the government and not the selection panel that is empowered to appoint the CBI chief.
The committee selects a group of candidates for the appointment of a Director and then puts it before the government. It is the government which appoints the right candidate after that, the AG also said.
The court will continue hearing the matter on Wednesday.