SC asks Centre to respond to PIL for making CBI `independent`

The Supreme Court on Thursday asked the Centre and the UPSC to respond to a PIL seeking to implement various recommendations of a Parliamentary panel for making CBI "independent" and "efficient".

Updated: Feb 14, 2013, 21:35 PM IST

New Delhi: The Supreme Court on Thursday asked the Centre and the UPSC to respond to a PIL seeking to implement various recommendations of a Parliamentary panel for making CBI "independent" and "efficient".

A bench of justices GS Singhvi and HL Gokhale issued notices to the UPSC and the Department of Personnel and Training on the plea seeking directions to the respondents to produce the records related to recruitmental acts in the CBI to "ensure complete justice" in the matter.

The court was hearing the PIL filed by ten CBI officers including NM Singh, Senior Superintendent of Police Special Task Force, DS Shukla and Ramnish.

The PIL said a large number of vacancies are unfilled in the CBI, resulting in delayed probes. It also dilutes citizens` right to fair and fast probe.

"That once again, for the second time in 20 years, such continuous years of deliberate successive neglect by the Union of India has resulted in continuance of large numbers of unfilled vacancies in CBI which is a major cause and results in hampering it from fulfilling its lawful mandate under the criminal justice system and to the people of India," the plea, filed through senior advocate Kamini Jaiswal, said.

The apex court in October 2012, while dealing with a case, had expressed concern and anguish on the vacancies.

"The court had also observed that even after a period of one year and almost eight months a large number of posts are yet to be filled. About one fourth of the sanctioned posts in CBI are vacant which is affecting the working and efficiency of the organisation.

"Despite the directions issued by this court, the recommendations made by the Department-related Parliamentary Standing Committee and the observation made by the court in the aforesaid criminal appeal, the respondents (Centre and UPSC) have failed to any effective steps to ensure independent and proper functioning of CBI..," it said.

The PIL cited the recommendations of 24th Department-related Parliamentary Standing Committee. They were presented to Rajya Sabha and the Lok Sabha on the working of the CBI.

"It had recommended that the remedy for this was strengthening the CBI in terms of resources and legal mandate. ...The committee recommended that the Government should augment its efforts to make suitable amendments in relevant Recruitment Rules and that steps should be taken on war footing to fill up vacancies within three months," the petition said.

It said that apart from anti-corruption and conventional crimes, CBI is dealing with economic offences, bank frauds, cyber crime and other serious crimes having inter-state and international ramifications and also a large number of cases are being referred to the agency for investigation by the Supreme Court and High Courts.

"Therefore, it is more imperative that CBI should have its own specialised, dedicated, insulated cadre that forms the nucleus skilled manpower for dealing with such specialised types of cases.

"However, even after about 50 years of its existence, the CBI does not have such a dedicated nucleus cadre of its own and has to depend on outside agencies while all the other departments and services like Railways, Customs, Income Tax, State Administration, Telecom, Information & Broadcasting, etc. Have their own dedicated cadres, which is seriously affecting the functioning and efficiency of CBI," it said.

The petition also said that the CBI has around 80 percent cases dealing with the Prevention of Corruption Act and most of the officers coming on deputation from either state police cadre or central para-military forces have "negligible if not no previous experience in the investigation of such cases..."