New Delhi: The Supreme Court on Tuesday reinstated Alok Verma as the director of the Central Bureau of Investigation.
In the judgment, the court extensively referred to the Vineet Narain judgment of 1997, which spelt out the “mode and manner of appointment of Central Vigilance Commissioner and Vigilance Commissioners as well as that of the Director, CBI”.
A bench consisting Chief Justice Ranjan Gogoi, Justice S.K. Kaul and Justice K.M. Joseph observed, “An indepth consideration of the matter leaves us with no doubt that the clear legislative intent in bringing the aforesaid provisions [post the Vineet Narain judgment] to the statute book are for the purpose of ensuring complete insulation of the office of the Director, CBI from all kinds of extraneous influences, as may be, as well as for upholding the integrity and independence of the institution of the CBI as a whole.”
The bench said the CBI has been “perceived to be necessarily kept away from all kinds of extraneous influences so that it can perform its role as the premier investigating and prosecuting agency without any fear and favour and in the best public interest”.
“The head of the institution, namely, the Director, naturally, therefore, has to be the role model of independence and integrity which can only be ensured by freedom from all kinds of control and interference except to the extent that Parliament may have intended. Such intendment, in our considered view, would require all Authorities to keep away from intermingling or interfering in the functioning of the Director,” the judgment reads.
Interference may only be called for when “public interest must be writ large against the backdrop of the necessity”, the court said.
“The relevance and adequacy of the reasons giving rise to such a compelling necessity can only be tested by the opinion of the Committee constituted under Section 4A(1) of the DSPE Act in whom the power to make recommendations for appointment of the Director has been vested by Parliament. This alone can provide an adequate safeguard to ensure the independence of the office keeping in view the legislative intent, as found and held by us,” the bench noted.
Read the full judgment below.
CBI Judgment by on Scribd
You can read The Wire‘s complete coverage of the conflict within the CBI here.