The Supreme Court on Friday refused to entertain CBI officers’ plea for a directive to the Group of Ministers (GoM), which is examining the issue of the agency’s autonomy, to consider parliamentary panel reports on the CBI before making its recommendation.
A bench headed by justice BS Chauhan turned down the plea of a group of CBI cadre officers who wanted the SC to restrain the Centre from framing new rules for the appointment of officers against the recommendation of parliamentary committees that suggested building of a strong CBI cadre to reduce dependence of deputation.
“We cannot pass such order of mandamus (directive) to the government. We cannot pre-empt an ordinance,” the bench said, adding, “Propriety says that it should come before the same bench,” the judges said advising the petitioners to approach the bench that was hearing the issue of filling up vacancies in the CBI for redressal of their grievance.
A three-judge bench headed by justice RM Lodha had on May 8 directed the government to file an affidavit by July 3 stating the legislative measures contemplated to make the CBI independent and non-partisan investigating agency. The government on Tuesday formed a GoM headed by finance minister P Chidambaram to examine the issue of CBI’s autonomy and to free it from external interference. The court is to take up the issue on July 10.
The petitioners questioned the government for setting up the GoM and not implementing the recommendations of parliamentary panels. They said the GoM must give them the opportunity to make representations.
“Under the garb of the court directive, the government which has disregarded and failed to take into consideration various reports of parliamentary standing committees, has arbitrarily set up a GoM,” petitioners’ counsel Kamini Jaiswal said.