Home / News / India /  Chief Justice not to hear challenge to CBI interim chief’s appointment  

New Delhi: Chief Justice Ranjan Gogoi on Monday recused himself from hearing a challenge to the appointment of M Nageswara Rao as interim director of the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI).

He did this because he is going to be a member of the selection panel that will meet for the appointment of the new CBI director on 24 January.

Accordingly, the case will be listed before a new bench on Thursday.

Rao was made to continue as the interim director after former CBI director Alok Verma was removed by the high-power selection panel headed by Prime Minister Narendra Modi on 10 January. Subsequently, Verma resigned from the Indian Police Service (IPS).

Within hours of resuming control as interim CBI director, Rao reversed all transfer orders issued by Verma.

The plea sought the quashing of the order of 10 January and argued that Rao’s appointment as interim director was not made on the basis of recommendations of the selection panel, and deemed it to be “illegal, arbitrary, mala fide and in violation of provisions of the Delhi Special Police Establishment Act (DSPE Act)".

"Rao’s appointment as interim CBI director was apparently not made on the basis of recommendations of the high-power selection committee. It appears that this particular committee has been completely bypassed by the Centre, which has arbitrarily and without any jurisdiction appointed Rao."

The selection committee comprises the prime minister, the leader of the opposition and the chief justice of India, or a Supreme Court judge nominated by him.

The plea also sought the apex court’s direction to the Centre to ensure all records of deliberations and rational criteria related to shortlisting and selection of the director of CBI are made available to citizens under the provisions of the Right To Information Act, 2005.

On 8 January, a three-judge bench headed by Chief Justice Gogoi had set aside the government’s order of 23 October divesting Verma of his powers and appointing CBI joint director Rao as interim chief. Verma was reinstated as CBI director, but was barred from taking any fresh policy decisions till the high-power committee reviewed the Central Vigilance Commission’s findings against him.

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