The Lok Sabha on Wednesday passed a bill to amend a law on the appointment of Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) chief.
This came in the midst of allegations by the Congress and other Opposition members that the clause relating to the quorum on the selection committee was aimed at keeping the largest opposition party out of the selection process.
Minister of state for personnel, Jitendra Singh, who moved the bill, denied the charge and said the amendment was to “smoothen” the process of selecting the CBI director and that there were no ulterior motives.
The Delhi Special Police Establishment (Amendment) Bill, 2014, provides for inclusion of leader of the single largest Opposition party in the three-member committee that selects the CBI director.
The Prime Minister and Chief Justice of India are the other members of the committee.
Opposition members were objecting to the clause that provides that “No appointment of a (CBI) director shall be invalid merely by reason of any vacancy or absence of a member in the committee.”
“The clause has been brought exclusively to keep out the single largest Opposition party,” contended Leader of Congress in Lok Sabha, Mallikarjun Kharge, while describing the move as a “double-edged sword” which “poses a big danger”.
The bill was passed by voice vote but not before a division of votes on its consideration as well as an amendment moved by BJD member Tathagat Satpathy, which was rejected.
Earlier, Kharge made a strong plea to the government to withdraw the measure even at this late stage and bring forward a comprehensive amendment.