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CJI should not be in panel to appoint CBI chief: Justice Verma

A top jurist on Monday disagreed on the issue of inclusion of CJI in a panel proposed by a parliamentary committee to appoint the CBI chief.

New Delhi: A top jurist on Monday disagreed on the issue of inclusion of the Chief Justice of India in a panel proposed by a parliamentary committee to appoint the CBI chief, saying it could lead to problems at a later date.

Former Chief Justice of India, Justice J S Verma said instead of the CJI, the panel could have the Vice-President or Speaker Lok Sabha as a member of the `collegium` to appoint the CBI director.

He was asked by reporters for his view on the recommendation by Rajya Sabha Select Committee on Lokpal that a collegium consisting of the Prime Minister, Leader of the Opposition in Lok Sabha and CJI should be set up to appoint the CBI chief.

At present, the government appoints the CBI director.

Justice Verma said since the Supreme Court decides on various cases relating to CBI`s investigation, the presence of CJI in the appointment panel should be avoided.

He also said the issue can be discussed further to find a suitable person to be put in the panel instead of the CJI.

Justice Verma had prepared a draft bill to provide constitutional status to Lokpal for the Standing Committee on Law and Personnel when it was scrutinising the bill last year.

In his deposition before the RS Select Committee, Attorney General G E Vahanvati too had cautioned against the inclusion of the CJI in the panel to appoint the CBI director.

Vahanvati`s opinion forms part of the evidence tabled by the Committee along with its report and the amended Lokpal Bill in the Rajya Sabha last week.

In response to a query by the Select Committee on whether the CJI should be part of the appointment committee of the CBI chief, the AG had said, "If you ask me, I would say no."

While the AG did not favour the presence of the CJI in the appointment panel, he said the Lokpal Chairperson instead can be part of the panel.

The Attorney General`s opinion came against the backdrop of apprehensions by some members of the RS Select Committee about a conflicting situation arising in case the CJI was involved in the appointment of the CBI chief, since the Supreme Court might have to adjudicate matters related to the investigating agency.


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