CBI to get legal arm, but autonomy a far cry

  • Nagendar Sharma, Hindustan Times, New Delhi
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  • Updated: Jul 05, 2013 02:09 IST

Sixteen years after the Supreme Court recommended the setting up of a separate directorate for the CBI to deal with its legal matters, the government has finally agreed to it and decided to amend the law, but the proposed new body will remain under its control.

The affidavit submitted by the government in the Supreme Court spelling out the measures taken and proposed by it to end political interference in the CBI’s functioning, includes setting up of a directorate of prosecution for the agency.

The recommendation for the creation of an independent directorate of prosecution in the CBI was first made by the Supreme Court in its famous Vineet Narain judgment of 1997, with an aim to end government’s interference in cases investigated by the agency.

The government has decided to amend the Delhi Special Police Establishment Act 1946, the current law which governs the CBI, for creation of this directorate, proposed to function under the overall supervision and control of the agency’s director.

The affidavit, however, makes it clear that the appointment of director prosecution will remain under the government’s control and so will its functioning.

A panel headed by the Central Vigilance Commissioner will appoint the director prosecution, which will include the home, law and department of personnel secretaries as its members. CBI director will also be on the panel.      

This shows that top bureaucrats will have a majority in the selection panel.

According to the affidavit, the government has also retained the role of law ministry in selecting lawyers who will represent the agency in courts.

“The director prosecution will be vested with the power of preparing a panel of special counsels in consultation with the CBI director and with the approval of law ministry for conducting prosecution and appeals in courts for the agency,” states the affidavit.

The government has also decided to continue with the practice of referring the differences of opinion between the CBI director and director prosecution to the attorney general.


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