CJI to govt: CBI’s battle didn’t start at night no?
THE Supreme Court on Thursday asked the Centre to explain why the decision to send CBI Director Alok Verma on leave was taken in October even though the dispute had been in public domain since July.
Does the CBI Director have such protection that neither the Centre nor the CVC can touch him for his any action during the fixed tenure of two years? This question arose in the SC, which was hearing the petitions filed by CBI Director Alok Verma and others challenging the Centre’s decision to divest him of all powers and sending him on leave along with Special Director Rakesh Asthana. Both have levelled allegations of corruption against each other.
The question came in response to the argument by Solicitor General Tushar Mehta, who argued that the CVC decision was a “response to an exigent situation.”
When senior advocates Fali Nariman and Dushyant Dave, appearing for Verma and an NGO, Common Cause respectively, argued that neither the Centre nor the Central Vigilance Commission (CVC) had any power to take disciplinary action against the CBI Director, a bench headed by Chief Justice Ranjan Gogoi asked: Will that not make CBI Director virtually untouchable? Is that what
Parliament intended? Does the fixed tenure of CBI
Director supersede all rules and makes him untouchable,
‘Centre & CVC can’t take such actions’
asked the bench, also comprising Justices S K Kaul and K M Joseph.
Though Verma, according to the Centre remains the CBI Director, Additional Solicitor General P S Narasimha appearing for the CBI, submitted that there was no need to go to the Selection Committee before taking disciplinary action against Verma.
Nariman and others opposing the Centre’s decision took the stand that action against the CBI chief can be taken only by the high-level panel, comprising the Prime Minister, A MAGISTERIAL probe into the Amritsar train tragedy, in which around 60 people died, has given a “clean chit” to Navjot Kaur Sidhu, wife of Punjab minister Navjot Singh Sidhu, who was the chief guest at the Dussehra event.
“Navjot Kaur Sidhu, the wife of the local bodies minister Navjot Singh Sidhu, who attended the function as a chief guest, had no role in organising the event,” says the report. Reacting to the report, Navjot Kaur Sidhu said that their opponents were politicising the issue to malign our image.
“If I am invited as a chief guest and an accident leader of the opposition and the Chief Justice of India, involved in the selection process.
“If you want to do something that has the effect of divesting the director of his powers, wouldn’t it be better to consult the committee?” asked the bench, which then observed that “the essence of any government action should be what is best for the administration.”
“It’s not only a question of adherence to the law but the better adherence to the law,” commented the CJI.
“The rule is that director has to remain in office for not less than two years. The terminology is important,” argued Nariman.
The hearing also saw Asthana’s counsel and senior advocate Mukul Rohatgi taking the stance that a direction be passed to take the CVC enquiry report against Verma to its logical conclusion.
(With PTI inputs)
‘She had no role in organising event’
Navjot Kaur (seen with husband Navjot Sidhu) had been accused of organising the Dussehra event where the accident took place.
The case in the top court is also about corruption charges levelled against each other by Alok Verma (right) and his deputy Rakesh Asthana (left).