Attempt to Release 'Caged Parrot': Madras HC Issues Orders Over CBI's 'Autonomy'
The Madras High Court said that the CBI should have autonomy as that of the Comptroller & Auditor General of India.
The Madras High Court (HC) on Wednesday, 18 August, said that the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) should be an autonomous body "like the Election Commission of India", which reports only to the Parliament.
While hearing a petition related to the Rs 300-crore ponzi scam case, Justice N Kirubakaran and Justice B Pugalendhi of the Madurai bench said that the CBI should have exclusive autonomous powers.
"The CBI should have autonomy as that of the Comptroller and Auditor General of India, who is only accountable to Parliament," the HC said, as quoted by NDTV.
The court, in its judgment, also said that the CBI director should have powers as that of the Secretary to the Government and "report directly to the Minister/Prime Minister without going through DoPT".
The court further directed the Centre to enact a separate Act giving statutory status with more powers and jurisdiction to the CBI "without administrative control of the government".
On Appointments, Facilities and Functioning
Here are some observations and orders passed by the court related to manpower, appointments and facilities with the CBI:
The functioning of the body and the investigations are hindered due to lack of manpower.
The Centre should decide on comprehensive proposal for cadre review and restructuring of CBI within one month.
The court observed that recruitment of staff and officials should be conducted independently by the CBI and trained in order to bypass dependency on deputations from the police and other forces.
Specific budget should be allocated for the CBI.
The CFSL should have facilities at par with those with the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) in US and Scotland Yard in the UK.
The CBI should file a well thought out policy within six weeks for permanently recruiting cyber forensic experts and financial audit experts, rather than hiring them on a case-by-case basis.
The DoPT should clear all pending proposals pertaining to CBI's infrastructure development.
The CFSL attached to CBI and all other FSLs should clear all the pending cases as on 31 December 2020, within six weeks.
The CBI director should share with the respective Registrar Generals of the high courts the details of cases wherein charges have not been framed by the trial courts despite the charge sheets having been filed by the CBI for more than a year.
The CBI director should send a proposal seeking increase in the divisions/wings as well as strength of officers to the Centre within six weeks and the Centre should pass orders on the proposal within three months after that.
'Attempt to Release Caged Parrot'
"This order is an attempt to release the "Caged Parrot", the court said on Wednesday.
The term was used by the Supreme Court in 2013 to describe the CBI, which was then being accused of working at the behest of the Congress government while the BJP was the Opposition.
The comments by Madras HC come amid similar allegations against the CBI now being accused of working to fulfill the BJP government's propaganda by selectively going after Opposition leaders.
The CBI currently reports to the Department of Personnel and Training (DoPT), which comes under the jurisdiction of the Prime Minister's Office.
(With inputs from NDTV and LiveLaw)
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