Govt submits plan to free 'caged parrot'
The Centre on Wednesday submitted to the Supreme Court its plan for granting autonomy to the CBI, promising a fixed two-year tenure for the chief, who will be picked by a high-powered panel led by the prime minister. HT reports. The blueprintUpdated: Jul 04, 2013 02:09 IST
The Centre on Wednesday submitted to the Supreme Court its plan for granting autonomy to the CBI, promising a fixed two-year tenure for the chief, who will be picked by a high-powered panel led by the prime minister.
In a 41-page plan to free the "caged parrot", the government spelled out the changes it was planning to the Delhi Police Special Establishment Act to grant greater autonomy to the CBI.
But, the affidavit, say some experts, has failed to address the basic issues of legal, administrative and financial autonomy.
The government wants a two-year fixed tenure for the CBI director, who will be picked by a panel led by PM with the leader of opposition and Chief Justice of India (CJI) as its member.
Only president will have the authority to remove the director on a reference by the chief vigilance commissioner (CVC) on the ground of misbehaviour. At present, a committee headed by CVC recommends a panel of IPS officers to appoint the director.
The affidavit proposes a three-month deadline for the Centre to respond to the agency's request for sanction to investigate government officers in corruption cases.
The government is silent on CBI's demand to let it hire its own lawyers, though it talks about setting-up a committee to appoint CBI's director (prosecution).
"Prime facie, the government does not appear to have addressed the basic issues with regard to legal, administrative and financial autonomy," said former CBI director US Misra.
The Centre's affidavit is in response to the SC's May 18 direction after a bench indicted the government for interfering with the CBI probe in the coal block scam and described the agency as a "caged parrot" with many masters.
The court has asked the Centre to come out with a law before the next hearing, on July 10, to insulate the CBI from external influence.
The affidavit has been filed after the cabinet cleared the recommendations of a group of ministers. The leader of opposition in the Rajya Sabha Arun Jaitley had termed the recommendations as a "camouflage" that created "an illusion by removing the political executive and creating a proxy institution instead".