Zee Media Bureau
New Delhi: The CBI on Tuesday told the apex court that it was functioning in the iron grip of bureaucrats and that it was difficult to function as an independent agency.
Country`s premier investigating agency made these comments during a hearing related to the allocation of coal blocks in the Supreme Court.
It told the apex court that road blocks are still there on its way to attaining functional autonomy as the Centre was averse to vesting its Director with ex-officio powers of Secretary which would ensure independent working of the agency.
"We (CBI) need freedom from babudom," senior advocate Amrendra Sharan said while pointing out hurdles faced by the agency at evey stage in its administrative functioning.
When a bench headed by Justice R M Lodha asked why he was so much against the bureaucracy, he said "it is because everything which we are seeking is returned" and "every proposal passes through head clerks".
The apex court, which was in agreement with CBI`s proposal that its Director be vested with ex-officio powers of Secretary for reporting directly to the Minister without having to go through the Department of Personnel and Training (DoPT), asked the Attorney General G E Vahanvati to make a categorical statement in this regard.
The Attorney General told the bench that he can only make a statement after seeking instructions from the concerned authority as senior advocate Amarender Sharan, appearing for the CBI, submitted that the Centre was not agreeing to the agency`s proposal in this regard or for vesting the Director with the power to appoint Special Counsel.
Sharan said there are other police forces in which the Director General has been vested with ex-officio power of Secretary to the Government.
The bench, which asked the Attorney General to come out with a stand on the two issues, also wanted to know from him whether any Bill was on the anvil to grant functional autonomy to CBI to insulate it from extraneous influences.
"What happened to proposed amendment (in the Delhi Special Police Establishment Act). It is also important. Many Bills have been passed by Parliament. Was there any Bill introduced relating to autonomy of the CBI," the bench asked Vahanvati, who said there was no such Bill in the monsoon session but officialy work was in progress.
The CBI said Government has agreed to its three proposals
that Director will be authorised to write the Annual Confidential Report (ACR) of the Director of Prosecution and the same shall be reviewed and accepted by Minister of Law and Justice.
Proposals for ACR of CBI law officers to be written by Director of Prosecution in consultation with the Joint Director and the empowerment of CBI Director to conduct departmental promotion committee meeting for promotions of inspectors to the rank of DySP without going through the UPSC, have also been accepted by the Centre.
The Bench asked the Centre to come out with a formal order in this regard within two weeks.
Meanwhile, the bench also allowed the CBI plea to add three more investigating officers of the rank of inspector in its 36-member team probing the coalgate scam for completing the time-bound task.
The CBI on July 16 had told the apex court that its Director should be given a minimum three-year term instead of two with a rank equal to a Secretary and sought more financial autonomy while rejecting Centre`s proposal for an accountability panel for it.
The agency, in its 14-page affidavit, contended that administrative and financial powers of the CBI Director are "limited" and more is needed to be done than what has been proposed by the Centre to ensure autonomy and insulate it from extraneous influences.
It had submitted that its Director be vested with ex-officio powers of Secretary for reporting directly to the Minister without having to go through the Department of Personnel and Training (DoPT).
With PTI inputs