On Monday Chief Justice of India (CJI), Ranjan Gogoi recused himself from hearing a plea challenging appointment of interim CBI director M Nageswara Rao. Justice Gogoi said he would be part of the selection committee meeting to choose the new CBI director. The three member high-powered selection committee consists of the Prime Minister, the leader of the largest opposition party and the Chief Justice of India.
A bench comprising CJI Ranjan Gogoi and Justice Sanjiv Khanna was hearing a PIL filed by an NGO Common Cause challenging the appointment of Rao as interim CBI director. Represented by advocate Prashant Bhushan, the NGO Common Cause and activist Anjali Bhardwaj in a joint petition, termed the January 10 order of the government handing over the charge and work of the CBI Director to Mr Rao as “illegal”.
The petitioners in its plea asserted “The Government of India has attempted to stifle the independence of the institution of the CBI by appointing the Director of the CBI in an arbitrary and illegal manner.” It said the mandatory requirement under Section 4A of the Delhi Special Police Establishment (DSPE) Act of 1946 to consult the high-powered selection committee was a statutory measure when it comes to the appointment process of the CBI Director free from government interference.