SC on Appointment of CBI Director

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    In News

    Recently, the Supreme Court (SC) has told the government that interim appointments to the post of Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) Director cannot go on.

    Key Highlights

    • Background
      • A petition was filed by Common Cause, objecting to the interim appointment of CBI Director.
        • Common Cause is a nonpartisan, grassroots organization fighting for an accountable government, equal rights/opportunities/representation and empowering voices to be heard
      • The Solicitor General of India strongly objected to these allegations and the SC has decided to hear arguments from both sides shortly.
    • Concerns Highlighted
      • It highlighted that the government had failed to appoint a regular Director through the high-power selection committee.
      • An interim appointment through an executive order was not envisaged in the statutory scheme of the Delhi Special Police Establishment (DPSE) Act, 1946.
      • The CBI Director is a sensitive post and is the final authority in the organisation in several sensitive investigations.
    • Suggestions
      • There should be determined efforts to enhance the functional autonomy of the CBI and also limit the extent of executive discretion in the matter of appointments.
      • The premier investigative agency should function independently outside the pale of the Executive or political powers.
      • A mechanism should be introduced to ensure that the process of selection of CBI Director is completed one or two months in advance of the retirement of the incumbent.

    Central Bureau of Investigation

    • It is the premier investigative agency with a dual responsibility and operates under the Ministry of Personnel, Public Grievances and Pensions.
      • It investigates grievous cases and provides leadership and direction in fighting corruption to the Police force across the country.
    • History
      • It traces its origin to the Special Police Establishment (SPE) which was set up in 1941 by the Government of India.
        • Its functions were to investigate cases of bribery and corruption in transactions during World War II.
      • The DPSE Act was therefore brought into force in 1946.
        • This Act transferred the superintendence of the SPE to the Home Department and its functions were enlarged to cover all government departments.
        • The jurisdiction of the SPE extended to all the Union Territories and could be extended also to the States with the consent of the State Government concerned.
      • CBI was set up by a resolution of the Ministry of Home Affairs in 1963 after recommendations by the Santhanam committee and DPSE was made a part of it.
    • Motto: Industry, Impartiality and Integrity.
    • Objective
      • To uphold the Constitution of India and law of the land through in-depth investigation and successful prosecution of offences
      • To provide leadership and direction to police forces.
      • To act as the nodal agency for enhancing inter-state and international cooperation in law enforcement.
    • Functions
      • Investigate corruption offences by the Central government servants, Public Sector Undertakings (PSUs) and of the Public Sector Banks (PSBs).
      • Economic crimes like financial frauds, narcotics, antiques, smuggling etc.
      • Important conventional crimes such as murders, kidnapping, terrorist crimes, etc., on a selective basis.
    • Headquarters: New Delhi, along with various Zonal offices.
    • Appointment of Director
      • As per the Section 4 of the DPSE Act, the Central Government shall appoint the Director on the recommendation of the Committee consisting of the Prime Minister (PM), the Leader of Opposition and the Chief Justice of India (CJI) or Judge of the SC nominated by him/her.
      • No appointment of a Director shall be invalid merely by reason of any vacancy or absence of a Member in the Committee.
      • The Committee shall recommend a panel of officers
        • On the basis of seniority, integrity and experience in the investigation of anti-corruption cases
        • Chosen from amongst officers belonging to the Indian Police Service constituted under the All-India Services Act, 1951.
      • Tenure: The Director shall continue to hold office for a period of not less than two years from the date of assuming office.

    Source: TH