The central government Friday shot down most of the suggestions by the CBI seeking to fortify its independence, telling the Supreme Court that an all-powerful agency director without adequate checks and balances would not be in harmony with the constitutional scheme of things.
“An all-powerful director CBI without adequate checks and balances would not be consonant with settled constitutional principles and would always carry the risk of potential misuse and may not be conducive to fearless and independent functioning of the organisation at all level,” the government said in its affidavit filed Friday in the apex court.
It expressed its stand while rejecting the CBI’s proposals including plea for its director to ex-officio powers of secretary to the union government for greater financial, administrative and disciplinary powers, three years tenure, powers to make appointments at superintendent of police level, taking the nod of the selection committee for the removal of the director and other issues.
The government said that the Group of Ministers had finalised its recommendations on granting independence to the CBI and insulating it from political interferences July 3 only after it considered the views of the CBI director at a meeting June 24.
The government, the affidavit said, was guided by three principle before making the recommendation of making CBI independent that included that the provisions of the Lokpal bill, already been passed by the Lok Sabha covering CBI and the Delhi Police Special Establishment, had to be kept in view while finalising the recommendations of the GoM.
The other two principles that weighed with the GoM was that the “government is accountable and answerable to the parliament and therefore the right of the executive to run the government, subject to checks and balances, cannot be taken away” and finally the “any kind of autonomy must be matched by accountability”.
The government said that it had an “open mind” that upon retirement, the CBI director should not be eligible for re-appointment. Such a “provision shall contribute to independence and impartiality of the DCBI only if any and all post-retirement employment to the DCBI is precluded”.