The Supreme Court has dismissed a curative petition against dismissal of NGO Common’s Cause plea challenging appointment of Gujarat cadre IPS officer Rakesh Asthana as Special Director of CBI.
The decision, passed by a bench comprising Chief Justice of India Ranjan Gogoi, Justice Madan B Lokur, Justice AK Sikri and Justice AM Sapre, said,
“We have gone through the Curative Petition and the connected papers. In our opinion, no case is made out within the parameters indicated in the decision of this Court in the case of Rupa Ashok Hurra vs. Ashok Hurra & Another, reported in 2002 (4) SCC 388. Hence, the Curative Petition is dismissed.”
Common Cause’s petition had contended that Mr. Asthana had been appointed in violation of the principles of “impeccable integrity” and “institutional integrity”.
It had submitted that as per Section 4C of the Delhi Special Police Establishment (DSPE) Act, 1946, the Special Director needs to be appointed by the Central Government on recommendation by a Committee comprising the Central Vigilance Commissioner (CVC), Vigilance Commissioners (VCs) and Home Secretary and Secretary (Personnel), in consultation with the CBI Director.
The petition had then claimed that Mr. Asthana’s appointment was categorically objected to by CBI Director Mr. Alok Verma, who had reasoned that Mr. Asthana’s name figured in an ongoing corruption probe by the agency.
As per the petition, despite the Director’s objection, the Appointments Committee of the Cabinet (ACC), comprising the Prime Minister and the Home Minister, had issued the order of his appointment the next day.
It had then asserted that the appointment was invalid as the views of the CBI Director cannot be ignored without giving cogent reasons for the same, explaining, “This is specially so because the Additional Director (as Respondent No. 2 was before his promotion) works under the CBI Director and the latter is in the best position to judge the merits and suitability of the proposed appointee. The opinion of the CBI Director, therefore, ought to have been given the highest regard and should not have been overruled without sufficient reason.”
However, a Supreme Court bench comprising Justice RK Agrawal and Justice AM Sapre had, in November last year, dismissed this petition, opining that the rules of procedure had not been violated.