The Supreme Court on Tuesday set aside central government's order to send Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) chief Alok Verma on forced leave. Following the decision of the top court, Alok Verma will be resinstated as the CBI chief. He was sent on leave by the Centre in October 2018.
The top court has asked the High Power Committee under the DSPE Act to consider the matter afresh. Verma will not be able to take any major policy decision unless a decision on the matter by the committee.
According to the Supreme Court, the government should have referred the matter to the Select Committee, comprising Chief Justice of India, Prime Minister and the Leader of Opposition, to initiate Verma's removal from the post.
While the verdict was slated to be delivered by Chief Justice of India Ranjan Gogoi, was given by Justice Sanjay K Kaul as the former was unavailable on Tuesday. The judgement was, however, authored by the Chief Justice himself.
Verma and NGO Common Cause had filed a plea after the Centre decided to divest him of his charge and send him on forced leave in the intervening night of October 23-24. While reserving the order on Verma's plea on December 6, the bench of Chief Justice Ranjan Gogoi, Justice Sanjay Kishan Kaul and Justice KM Joseph had questioned if government action was "proportionate" to the allegation against him.
Verma had contended that divesting him of his powers to act as CBI Director and entrusting it to Joint Director M Nageswara Rao was tantamount to his transfer and same could not have been done without going back to the selection committee, as mandated under the law. The selection committee comprises the Prime Minister, Leader of opposition and the Chief Justice of India.
Verma had referred to Section 4B(2) of the Delhi Special Police Establishment Act, 1946, which says, "The Director shall not be transferred except with the previous consent of the Committee referred to in sub-section (1) of section 4A."