Must partly delink CBI from govt’s control, says CJI
Delivering the 18th edition of the DP Kohli memorial lecture, Gogoi minced no words in pointing out the flaws and strengths of the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) and offered advice for the way forward.Updated: Aug 13, 2019 23:31 IST
Why is it that whenever there are no political overtones to a case, the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) does a good job, Chief Justice of India Ranjan Gogoi asked on Tuesday.
Delivering the 18th DP Kohli memorial lecture at Vigyan Bhawan, Gogoi said given the superintendence and control of the agency continues to, in large measure, lie with the executive by virtue of Section 4 of the Delhi Special Police Establishment Act 1946, the possibility of it being used as a political instrument remains ever present.
But he had no doubt that there was more than enough strength within the organisation to deal with any such situation, he added.
“True, in a number of high-profile and politically sensitive cases, the agency has not been able to meet the standards of judicial scrutiny. Equally true it is that such lapses may not have happened infrequently. Such instances reflect systemic issues and indicate a deep mismatch between institutional aspirations, organisational design, working culture, and governing politics,” he said.
The CJI said efforts must be made to delink crucial aspects of the CBI from the overall administrative control of the government. The agency should be given statutory status through legislation equivalent to that provided to the Comptroller & Auditor General (CAG), he said.
“The legal mandate of CBI must be strengthened by having a comprehensive legislation addressing deficiencies relating to organisational structure, charter of functions, limits of power, superintendence, and oversight. Further, to address an increasing incidence of interstate crimes, an argument could be made for including ‘public order’ in the concurrent list, for the limited purposes of investigating such crimes,” Gogoi said.
The CJI said an underlying weakness of public institutions was the lack of an adequately qualified and a competent workforce. The gap was both qualitative and quantitative, and the CBI was no exception, Gogoi added.
“Such gaps exist not merely on the operational end but also on the command side with 15% posts in executive ranks, 28.37% in law officers and 56.17% in technical officer lying vacant. This is a matter of concern as it results in overburdening of work, which not only reduces the effectiveness and efficiency of the agency personnel but also induces psychological distress,” he said.