CBI does a good job when there is no political overtone to a case: CJI

CBI does a good job when there is no political overtone to a case: CJI

CBI does a good job when there is no political overtone to a case: CJI

By / India News / Wednesday, 14 August 2019 07:58

Observing that the possibility of the CBI being used as a "political instrument" remains ever present, Chief Justice of India Ranjan Gogoi on Tuesday wondered how it was that the Central Bureau of Investigation could get a job well done in cases where there are no political overtones.

Gogoi said that efforts should be made to "delink crucial aspects" of the CBI from the overall administrative control of the government.Delivering the 18th annual DP Kohli memorial lecture, organised by the agency after a hiatus of two years, Gogoi said, "The CBI should be given statutory status through legislation equivalent to that provided to the Comptroller and Auditor General ." DP Kohli was the founder director of the CBI.

The legal mandate of the CBI must be strengthened by having a comprehensive legislation addressing deficiencies relating to organisational structure, charter of functions, limits of power, superintendence, and oversight, Gogoi said.
Listing out "imminent concerns" before the agency, he said superintendence and control of the agency continues to, in large measure, lie with the executive by virtue of Section 4 of the Delhi Special Police Establishment Act 1946, the "possibility of it being used as a political instrument" remains ever present.

"I have no doubt that there is more than enough strength within the organisation to deal with any such situation," he said.He said many recommendations of the judiciary to reform the functioning of the Central Bureau of Investigation have been accepted as it is by the central government.

"However, given the entrenched afflictions, the current challenge is to ascertain how to make the CBI functional as an efficient and impartial investigative agency fully motivated and guided by the objectives of service to the public at large, upholding the constitutional rights and liberty of the people, and capable of performing in increasingly complex time," he said.

The CJI categorised the "crucial concerns" regarding the CBI in five heads legal ambiguity, weak human resources, lack of adequate investment, accountability and political and administrative interference.

Underlining legal ambiguities in the functioning of the CBI, the CJI said in order to conduct investigation into a state, consent of the concerned state is crucial.

"Given vested interests or bureaucratic lethargy, such consent is often either denied or delayed, severely compromising the investigation," he said.

Gogoi said a patchwork of legislations governing the functioning of the CBI adversely affects inter-institutional coordination, both horizontally and vertically."The result of multiplicity of institutions results is an aggressive competition for scarce resources and inter-institutional 'turf-war'," he said.

"Further, to address an increasing incidence of interstate crimes, an argument could be made for including 'public order' in concurrent list, for the limited purposes of investigating such crimes.He, however, cautioned that autonomy without accountability would endanger the very objectives that animated the formation of the institution.

"Increased autonomy must be accompanied by enhanced accountability. Such accountability must be both internal and external," he said.

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