Rule of law the bedrock of democracy: Read full SC order in CBI vs CBI case
New Delhi, Jan 8: The Supreme Court on Tuesday held that the rule of law is the bedrock of democracy and that would hardly require any reiteration. The observation was made while reinstating Alok Verma as the chief of the Central Bureau of Investigation. The court made several interesting observations while delivering its verdict. Here are the key observations.
The organisation i.e. CBI has grown over the years in its role, power and importance and today has become the premier investigative and prosecution agency of the country. The high stature and the preeminent position that the institution has acquired is largely on account of a strong perception of the necessity of having such a premier agency. Such a perception finds reflection in the conscious attempts of the Government of the day to introduce reforms, from time to time, so as to enable the institution to reach greater heights in terms of integrity, independence and confidence.
The transfer of an incumbent Director, CBI in an extraordinary situation, including the need for him to take up a more important assignment, should have the approval of the Selection Committee.
The Director, CBI shall have full freedom for allocation of work within the agency as also for constituting teams for investigations. Any change made by the Director, CBI in the Head of an investigative team should be for cogent reasons and for improvement in investigation, the reasons being recorded.
Selection/extension of tenure of officers up to the level of Joint Director (JD) shall be decided by a Board comprising the Central Vigilance Commissioner, Home Secretary and Secretary (Personnel) with the Director, CBI providing the necessary inputs. The extension of tenure or premature repatriation of officers up to the level of Joint Director shall be with final approval of this Board. Only cases pertaining to the appointment or extension of tenure of officers of the rank of Joint Director or above shall be referred to the Appointments Committee of the Cabinet (ACC) for decision.
Proposals for improvement of infrastructure, methods of investigation, etc. should be decided urgently. In order to strengthen CBI's inhouse expertise, professionals from the Revenue, Banking and Security sectors should be inducted into the CBI.
Consequently, in the light of our views as expressed above we set aside the following orders dated 23rd October, 2018:
- (i) of the CVC divesting the powers, functions, duties, supervisory role, etc. of Shri Alok Kumar Verma as Director, CBI
- (ii) of the Government of India, Ministry of Personnel, Public Grievances and Pensions, Department of Personnel & Training divesting Shri Alok Kumar Verma, Director, CBI of his functions, powers, duties and supervisory role with immediate effect and until further orders.
- (iii) of the Government of India, Ministry of Personnel, Public Grievances and Pensions, Department of Personnel & Training by which one Shri M. Nageshwar Rao, IPS, Joint Director, CBI has been asked to look after the duties and functions of Director, CBI with immediate effect.
Our interference, as above, will now require the matter to be considered by the Committee under Section 4A(1) of the DSPE Act, 1946 which may be so done at the earliest and, in any case, within a week from the date of this order. A meeting of the Committee may be accordingly convened by the competent authority.
As the issue of divestment of power and authority of the Director, CBI is still open for consideration by the Committee and our interference with the impugned orders has been on the ground indicated above, we deem it proper to direct that the petitioner Shri Alok Kumar Verma, Director, CBI, upon reinstatement, will cease and desist from taking any major policy decisions till the decision of the Committee permitting such actions and decisions becomes available within the time frame indicated.
We further make it explicit that the role of the Petitioner Shri Alok Kumar Verma as the Director, CBI during the interregnum and in terms of this order will be confined only to the exercise of the ongoing routine functions without any fresh initiative, having no major policy or institutional implications.