In a dramatic turn of events, senior IPS officer Archana Ramasundaram was today restrained by the Supreme Court from discharging her duty as Additional Director in CBI, saying her new appointment “prima facie” seems to be illegal and against the statute.
A day after she became the first woman to be appointed as Additional Director in CBI, a bench headed by Chief Justice R M Lodha questioned the Centre’s decision to appoint her as her name was not recommended by the selection committee .
“Once the committee decides you should give effect to it. This is the law and you have to carry out the law. It amounts to nullifying the statute. She cannot be permitted to work,” it observed.
Ramasundaram was suspended by Tamil Nadu government late in the night for allegedly not following rules before joining the central probe agency. She was posted in the state head quarters till a final decision is taken.
In the apex court, senior advocate Ashok Kumar Ganguly, appearing for the officer, submitted that she has already joined CBI.
“We are informed by A K Ganguly that Ramasundaram has already joined as Additional Director as per the Centre’s May 7 order. Having considered the statutory provision of the DSPE Act with regard to appointment of officers above SP rank, we find that the petitioner has made strong prima facie case that she was not recommended by the selection committee.
“In the circumstance, we do not find it justifiable for Ramasundaram to continue to function as Additional Director of CBI for the time being. We accordingly restrain the respondent (CBI) from allowing Ramasundaram to function as Additional Director till next date of hearing,” the bench said in its order.
Ramasundram, a 1980 batch officer from Tamil Nadu cadre, had served in the CBI as Deputy Inspector-General and later as its first woman Joint Director and handled various cases pertaining to Economic Offences between 1999 and 2006.
Solicitor General Mohan Prasaran contended that the committee had forwarded just the name of one officer while it was supposed to give a panel of names out of which the government would have selected.
He told the court that he would place before it the files containing details of procedure by which she was appointment.
The bench then posted the case for further hearing on July 14 and made it clear that Ramasundaram would not discharge the function till then.