Lok Sabha passes bill to amend CBI chief's selection process

The amendment bill on the appointment of CBI chief was passed in the Lok Sabha on Wednesday.

New Delhi: The Lok Sabha on Wednesday passed a bill to amend the Delhi Special Police Establishment Act to include leader of the single largest opposition party as a member of the selection committee to choose the CBI chief.

The current Lok Sabha does not have a recognised Leader of Opposition. Under the statutory provisions, the post goes to the party that has at least 10 percent of the house's strength as elected members, currently pegged at 55.

The amendment will also do away with the requirement of quorum in the high-powered committee to select the Central Bureau of Investigation chief.

The bill assumes significance as current CBI director Ranjit Sinha's term ends Dec 2.

Minister of State for Personnel Jitendra Singh said the bill was being brought in to make the process of selecting the CBI chief smoother.

He denied that there were ulterior motives in the clause doing away with a quorum. "Just contemplate a situation where one of the three members is not present.”

The Congress opposed the bill, saying it was against the spirit of democracy.

“The quorum issue is (creating) a criminal precedent. This can happen only in a dictatorship and not democracy," Congress MP M. Veerappa Moily said.