SC rejects PIL questioning new CBI chief’s appointment

RSTV Bureau
File photo of Supreme Court of India.

File photo of Supreme Court of India.

The Supreme Court has rejected a PIL seeking a direction to Centre to place before it the minutes of the meeting of a high-powered committee that selected Delhi Police Commissioner Alok Kumar Verma as the new CBI Director. The high-powered committee comprised Prime Minister Modi, Chief Justice of India JS Khehar and the Leader of Congress party in Lok Sabha Mallikarjun Kharge.

“It (direction to call for minutes of the meeting) is not within the ambit of this writ petition. As far as this writ petition is concerned, it is over now,” a bench comprising Justices Kurian Joseph and AM Khanwilkar said.

The apex court said this after it was informed by Attorney General Mukul Rohatgi and Additional Solicitor General Tushar Mehta that the appointment to the post of CBI Director has been made and senior IPS officer Alok Kumar Verma has been appointed.

“Where is the question of placing the minutes of meeting now? A decision has been taken and order has been issued. Why are you (petitioner) pushing for something which is over?” Rohatgi told the bench seeking the dismissal of the PIL filed by an NGO Common Cause.

File photo of Delhi Police Commissioner Alok Kumar Verma, who has been named as the new Director of the Central Bureau of Investigation. PTI Photo

File photo of Delhi Police Commissioner Alok Kumar Verma, who has been named as the new Director of the Central Bureau of Investigation. PTI Photo

ASG Tushar Mehta also opposed the PIL, saying the committee comprises the Prime Minister, CJI and the Leader of Opposition and “their wisdom cannot be questioned” like this.

Advocate Prashant Bhushan, representing the NGO, argued that the minutes have to be seen to ascertain whether the new appointment has been made by following the law and procedure laid down by the apex court earlier.

He claimed that the meeting of the selection committee was not convened in December despite the fact that the earlier CBI Director Anil Sinha had retired on December 2.

“Let them place the minutes of meeting. Last time the Attorney General had said they would place the minutes of the meeting before the court,” he said.

Bhushan also raised the issue of appointment of Rakesh Asthana as an interim CBI Director allegedly without following the prescribed procedure, but the bench said now “nothing survives in this writ petition” as the Centre has informed it that a new person has been selected.

Alok Kumar Verma, the Delhi Police Commissioner, was on Thursday appointed as the new CBI Chief.

There are reports that leader of Congress party in Lok Sabha Mallikarjun Kharge is understood to have recorded his dissent note on Verma’s name during the meeting of the selection committee held on January 16, on the ground that the officer had never served in the CBI.

(With inputs from the PTI)