How Alok Verma won the CBI vs CBI war
New Delhi, Jan 8: In a major setback for the government, the Supreme Court reinstated Alok Verma as the CBI chief or director. The court held that the midnight decision sending Verma on leave following a spat with special director, Rakesh Asthana was wrong in law.
The court said that the matter ought to have been referred to the Selection Committee comprising the Prime Minister, Leader of Opposition and Chief Justice of India before any decision was taken.
The order comes as a major reprieve for Verma, who fought a long hard battle in the Supreme Court. The court held that the case was a pure question of law. It further said that Delhi Special Police Special Police Establishment (DSPE) Act was amended to ensure complete insulation of the office of the CBI director from external pressures.
The SC cannot be oblivious to the directions contained in the Vineet Narain verdict. In this case the SC had fixed a two year tenure for the CBI director.
While holding that sending Verma on leave was wrong, the court said that he could not have been stripped of his power.
While ordering the reinstatement of Verma, the court held that he cannot take major policy decisions till the decision of the selection committee. The High Power Committee under the DSPE will act within a week to consider his case.
The statute would have spelt out if interim measures against CBI director were permissible. The word transfer cannot be given its normal meaning. It has to be understood as encompassing acts affecting the functioning of the CBI Director, the court also held.
The court also said that the CBI director has to be the role model of the agency's independence. Public interest is paramount in ensuring independence of the CBI. This matter ought to have referred to the selection committee comprising the Prime Minister, Leader of Opposition and Chief Justice of India, the SC said.