SC judge recuses himself from acting CBI-chief's case

India

31 Jan 2019

Third SC judge exits case challenging acting CBI chief's appointment

On Thursday, Supreme Court Justice NV Ramana recused himself from hearing a plea challenging M Nageshwar Rao's appointment as interim CBI Chief.

Justice Ramana is the third judge to have exited the case. Earlier, Chief Justice of India Ranjan Gogoi and Justice AK Sikri refused to hear the case.

Explaining why he did so, Justice Ramana said he attended the wedding of Rao's daughter.

Appointment

Amid turmoil in CBI, Nageshwar Rao was made chief

Amid turmoil in CBI, Nageshwar Rao was made chief

In the last six months, Rao has been given the responsibility to head the premier investigative agency twice.

After a midnight surprise order of the Centre divested the then CBI Chief Alok Verma and his deputy Rakesh Asthana in October 2018, Rao was named interim boss.

He was given the post again after Verma was transferred by a high-powered committee earlier this month.

The case

Backstory: What the petition is all about

NGO Common Cause and RTI activist Anjali Bhardwaj challenged Rao's appointment in the Supreme Court. They claimed Centre wanted to stifle CBI.

The petitioners also want the top court to lay down guidelines for appointments to ensure transparency is maintained.

Further, they claimed Rao's appointment violated the Delhi Police Special Establishment (DPSE) Act and urged that the order should be quashed.

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Delays

Earlier, CJI Gogoi and Justice Sikri left the case

Earlier, CJI Gogoi and Justice Sikri left the case

On January 21, CJI Gogoi remarked since he is part of a panel which woyld decide the next CBI chief, he can't hear the petition.

The case came up for hearing again on January 24 and this time Justice Sikri recused himself from it.

While he didn't reveal the reason behind his decision, Justice Sikri added the PIL raised important issues.

"It seems you don't want to hear the case"

The inordinate delays in the case miffed the petitioners. Last time, lawyer Dushyant Dave said, "If we had known yesterday itself, we would have asked the CJI to list it today (January 24). It seems you don't want to hear the case."

CBI v/s CBI

A little about infighting in CBI

CBI has been mired in controversies for months now owing to the feud between Asthana and Verma. The top two men of the agency leveled allegations of corruption on one another.

A few weeks ago, the Delhi High Court refused to cancel FIR against Asthana paving path for an investigation.

Separately, Verma's transfer by Prime Minister Narendra Modi led panel kicked a political storm.

Resignation

Notably, government asked Verma to join office for a day

Notably, government asked Verma to join office for a day

After being ousted from CBI, Verma was given a less significant post. He was made the Director General of Fire Services, Civil Defense and Home Guards.

Subsequently, he resigned from IPS.

However, recent reports claim his resignation has been rejected as he was asked by the government to join office just for a day.

Notably, Verma was due to retire today (January 31).

New boss

Weeks after Verma's exit, CBI yet to get new boss

The PM Modi led panel that would decide Verma's successor failed to reach a conclusion on January 24. Apart from PM Modi and CJI Gogoi, the committee also includes Mallikarjun Kharge, the leader of the opposition.

The meeting, which lasted for more than an hour, didn't yield any results.

Reportedly, 17 names are in the fray for the top post.

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Most asked questions

Who is M Nageshwar Rao?

Who challenged M Nageshwar Rao's appointment as CBI chief?

Why did Justice Ramana refused to hear the case?

Has CBI got a new chief?

More questions

Who is M Nageshwar Rao?

Asked 2019-01-31 18:48:12 by Anika Mehta

Answered by NewsBytes

M Nageshwar Rao is the interim chief of CBI.

Who challenged M Nageshwar Rao's appointment as CBI chief?

Asked 2019-01-31 18:48:12 by Hansika Powar

Answered by NewsBytes

NGO Common Cause and RTI activist Anjali Bhardwaj challenged Rao's appointment in Supreme Court.

Why did Justice Ramana refused to hear the case?

Asked 2019-01-31 18:48:12 by Parakram Vyas

Answered by NewsBytes

Justice Ramana said he can't hear the case as he attended Rao's daughter's wedding.

Has CBI got a new chief?

Asked 2019-01-31 18:48:12 by Rakesh Chattopadhyay

Answered by NewsBytes

No. It has been weeks since Alok Verma left CBI but the agency is yet to get a new boss.

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