Leader of Opposition Current Affairs - 2019
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IPS officer Rishi Kumar Shukla has been appointed as the chief of the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) for a fixed tenure of two years. Rishi Kumar Shukla is currently serving as the chairman of Madhya Pradesh Police Housing Corporation in Bhopal.
The appointment of the Rishi Kumar Shukla was approved by the Appointments Committee of the cabinet based on the recommendation of the selection committee headed by the Prime Minister. The CBI Director search committee headed by Prime Minister has the Chief Justice of India and the Leader of Opposition as members.
Supreme Court Observations
The appointment of the CBI director gains significance in the backdrop of comments made by the Supreme Court which had said that it was “averse” to the arrangement of an interim CBI Director and the Centre should “immediately” appoint a regular chief of the probe agency.
The Supreme Court stated that the post of CBI Director is sensitive and important, and it is not good to keep an interim director of the agency for a longer period. The Supreme Court sought to know why the government has not made the appointment yet.
The Supreme Court of India has reinstated CBI director Alok Kumar Verma, setting aside the Centre’s order to divest him of his powers. The Supreme Court has restrained him from taking any major policy decision till the CVC probe into corruption charges against him is over.
Observations made by the Supreme Court
The Supreme Court has further asked the high-powered committee which selects and appoints the CBI director to take any further decisions once the CVC submits its report after the probe.
The selection committee of the CBI director comprises the Prime Minister, the leader of opposition and the Chief Justice of India.
There is no provision in the law which permits the government to divest the CBI director of his powers and functions without prior consent from the high powered select committee.
Supreme Court cited the Vineet Narain verdict of 1997 where the Supreme Court underlined the fact that the tenure of the CBI director had been fixed to two years after the Delhi Special Police Establishment (DSPE) Act.
Vineet Narain verdict of 1997
The Supreme Court had delivered a landmark verdict in the case of Vineet Narain vs Union of India case, popularly known as the Jain hawala case. The Supreme Court in its verdict had pronounced measures to shield the CBI director from outside interference and make the director’s post more transparent. The measures are:
- The CBI director shall have a minimum tenure of two years, regardless of the date of his superannuation.
- The Central Vigilance Commission (CVC) shall be responsible for the efficient functioning of CBI.
- The transfer of an incumbent Director, CBI in an extraordinary situation, including the need for him to take up a more important assignment, should have the approval of the selection committee.
The Supreme Court had laid down these measures recognising the need to provide permanent insulation to agencies such as CBI against extraneous influences to enable them to discharge their duties in the manner required for proper implementation of the rule of law.