Nageswara Rao's appointment as interim CBI chief not illegal or unauthorised, says SC

The court said that HPSC has authorised the government to appoint an interim director due to the vacancy caused by shifting of the then CBI director Alok Verma.

Published: 20th February 2019 01:49 AM  |   Last Updated: 20th February 2019 02:35 AM   |  A+A-

M Nageswara Rao

M Nageswara Rao (File | PTI)

By PTI

NEW DELHI: The Supreme Court Tuesday dismissed the plea challenging the appointment of M Nageswara Rao as the interim CBI Director saying it was not "unauthorised and illegal" in any manner.

Besides, it said, since the regular director has been appointed the main prayer of the petitioner NGO Common Cause stands satisfied and there is no justification to continue with the petition.

A bench of Justices Arun Mishra and Navin Sinha said that from the records it is apparent that Government of India was authorised by High Powered Selection Committee (HPSC) under Section 4A of Delhi Special Police Establishment (DSPE) Act to post a suitable officer as interim director of CBI.

"It is clear from the resolution passed by the Committee on January 9/10th, 2019 that the appointment of interim Director had been authorised by the Committee under section 4A. Thus, it cannot be said to be unauthorised and illegal in any manner whatsoever," it said.

The court said that HPSC has authorised the government to appoint an interim director due to the vacancy caused by shifting of the then CBI director Alok Verma.

READ HERE | Nageswara Rao offers unconditional apology to SC for transferring CBI officer against its order

It said the NGO filed the petition in undue haste without verifying the fact whether the appointment has been authorised by the HPSC for appointment of Director constituted under section 4A of the DSPE Act.

"We find that since the regular director has been appointed the main prayer of the petitioner stands satisfied and there is absolutely no justification to continue with this writ petition in the aforesaid circumstances," the bench said.

It said that "unfortunately" certain tweets were made by advocate Prashant Bhushan about the court proceedings claiming that the minutes of the high powered committee meeting had been forged and the Court was misled and there had been no authorisation by the Committee constituted under section 4A about appointment of interim Director.

The bench said that two contempt petitions have been filed by Attorney General K K Venugopal and Union of India with regard to such tweets therefore it is refraining itself from commenting on them.

On February 1, the top court had said that it was "averse" to the arrangement of an interim CBI Director and the Centre should "immediately" appoint a regular chief of the probe agency.

The plea had alleged that the October 23 last year order of the government appointing Rao as interim CBI director was quashed by the top court on January 8 but the Centre "acted in a completely malafide, arbitrary and illegal manner" to appoint him again in "complete contravention" of the Delhi Special Police Establishment Act.

On January 10, Rao, additional director in CBI, was made interim chief till the appointment of a new director, after the removal of Verma.

On February 4, Rishi Kumar Shukla, a 1983-batch IPS officer, took charge of the probe agency as a full-fledged director.

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