New Delhi: A plea was filed Monday in the Supreme Court seeking a direction to quash the January 10 order of the government appointing IPS officer M Nageswara Rao as an interim director of the CBI. He was given the responsibility after a high-powered committee headed by Prime Minister Narendra Modi removed Alok Kumar Verma as the chief of the probe agency on charges of corruption and dereliction of duty.
The petition, filed by NGO Common Cause and RTI activist Anjali Bhardwaj, has sought implementation of specific mechanisms to ensure transparency in the process of appointment of CBI director.
It alleged that Rao’s appointment was not made on the basis of recommendations of the high-powered selection committee, comprising the Prime Minister, the leader of the single largest opposition party and the Chief Justice of India or a judge of the apex court nominated by him.
“In fact, it appears that the committee was completely bypassed and had no role in the appointment of Nageswara Rao, thereby rendering the appointment illegal as it is in violation of the procedure for appointment of Director, CBI laid down in the DSPE (Delhi Special Police Establishment) Act,” the plea, filed through advocate Prashant Bhushan, said.
It stated that the order of October 23 last year appointing Rao as the interim CBI director was quashed by the top court, January 8 but the government has ‘acted in a completely mala fide, arbitrary and illegal manner’ to appoint him again in ‘complete contravention’ of the DSPE Act.
The plea also sought a direction to the Centre to appoint a regular CBI director forthwith by following the procedure laid down in accordance with the provision of DSPE Act, as amended by the Lokpal and Lokayuktas Act, 2013.
The plea also said the government should ensure transparency in short-listing, election and appointment process of CBI director by publicly disclosing, including through the website, the procedure and rational criteria for short-listing candidates, if any short-listing is done.
The plea sought a direction to the Centre that the process of selecting CBI director, including composition, mandate and minutes of the meetings of the search committee, should be disclosed publicly along with names of short-listed candidates so that people can inform the panel of any significant adverse information they may have about any such candidate.
“In so far as the appointment of the Director, CBI is concerned, the Government of India has failed to adopt proper procedures to ensure transparency in the short-listing, selection and appointment,” the plea stated.