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Meeting of panel for CBI director's appointment to be convened after May 2: Centre tells SC

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New Delhi | April 20, 2021 2:13:54 AM IST
The Supreme Court was on Monday informed by the Centre that the meeting to appoint CBI's regular director can't take place since the leader of the single largest party in Opposition, Adhir Ranjan Chowdhury, has said he would not be available to participate in the meeting till May 2.

In an affidavit, the government said the meeting of the selection committee comprising Chief Justice of India, Prime Minister and Leader of Opposition (LoP) shall be convened immediately after May 2.

The affidavit stated, "The Department of Personnel and Training (DoPT), Ministry of Personnel, Public Grievances and Pensions, is the administrative department in the Government of India dealing with matters relating to the CBI. Accordingly, in order to convene a meeting of the aforementioned committee for the purpose of the appointment of the next Director of the CBI, the Secretary (DoPT) contacted the Leader of the single largest opposition party in the House of the People (Adhir Ranjan Chowdhury). The Secretary (DoPT) was informed by Chowdhury that he would not be available to participate in the meeting till May 2, 2021."

"In the light of the foregoing, the meeting of the committee under Section 4A of the Act shall be convened immediately after May 2, 2021. It may be mentioned that Praveen Sinha, who has been directed to look after the duties of the Director, CBI, till the appointment of the new Director, is senior-most IPS Officer posted in the rank of Additional Director, CBI," the affidavit filed by the Centre added.

A bench of Justice L Nageswara Rao, in view of the affidavit, has now posted the matter for hearing on May 13.

On the last date of hearing, the Supreme Court bench had asked the central government to consider convening the meeting of the selection committee comprising CJI, Prime Minister and LoP before May 2 for the appointment of a regular CBI Director.

It had asked the Centre to consider convening the meeting earlier after Attorney General KK Venugopal told the court that the meeting will likely be convened on May 2.

Advocate Prashant Bhushan appearing for the NGO Common Cause had alleged that the government is delaying the meeting of the selection committee as it wants to bypass the present Chief Justice of India who is also part of the committee and retiring in April.

Bhushan had argued, "They want the present Chief Justice of India to retire and want the succeeding Chief Justice of India to be in the meeting...They want to bypass the present Chief Justice of India."

Solicitor General Tushar Mehta, appearing for the government, had strongly refuted the allegation of the present Chief Justice of India being bypassed and termed Bhushan's submission as absurd.

Mehta had said that the meeting was scheduled for May as there are important assembly elections going on.

Earlier, the apex court had issued notice to the Centre on a plea seeking appointment of a regular CBI Director by the selection committee of CJI, Prime Minister and LoP as per law.

The PIL filed by Common Cause stated that instead of appointing a regular director, the government has instead appointed an acting/interim director after the term of the previous CBI Director got over.

The appointment of the CBI Director has to be made on the recommendation of the Prime Minister, leader of the single largest Opposition party and the Chief Justice of India (or any Judge of Supreme Court nominated by CJI). (ANI)

 
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