Supreme Court notice to Centre on full-time CBI chief

New Delhi: The Supreme Court on Friday issued a notice to the Centre on a plea by NGO Common Cause to appoint a full-time CBI director as its counsel Prashant Bhushan said its work was suffering in absence of a full-timer who alone can take the policy decisions.

A Bench of Justices L Nageswara Rao and S Ravindra Bhat issued notice and posted the case for further hearing after two weeks.

The plea protests appointment of Praveen Sinha, a Gujarat cadre IPS officer already posted in the CBI, as an interim/acting CBI director till the appointment of the new director, or until further orders.

It says the Central government failed to appoint a CBI Director as per Section 4A of the Delhi Special Police Establishment (DSPE) Act, 1946 on the expiry of the term of the last incumbent, Rishi Kumar Shukla, a MP cadre IPS, on February 2.

The appointment of the CBI Director has to be made on the recommendation of the Prime Minister, leader of the single largest opposition party, and the Chief Justice of India (or any Judge of Supreme Court nominated by the CJI).

Prashant Bhushan, therefore, also sought interim directions of the court to the government to convene a meeting of the selection committee.

The Bench, however, refused to pass any order, without hearing the Centre. "Not without hearing them. We will hear them and pass orders," Justice Nageswara Rao said.

The petition says a full-time appointment of CBI Director as per the statutory law is necessary for upholding the rule of law and for enforcement of the rights of the citizens under Articles 14 and 21 of the Constitution.

It also prays for a direction to the Centre to initiate the process of selection of the CBI director well in advance, at least one or two months before the date of the post falling vacant.

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