The Supreme Court on Wednesday said that it cannot pass a blanket order on the appointment of directors of the Central Bureau of Investigation, PTI reported.
The court was hearing a petition filed by Common Cause, a non-governmental organisation, arguing for the extension of the term of CBI directors until their replacements have not been finalised, instead of appointing interim directors, The Times of India reported.
Common Cause has opposed the appointment of Praveen Sinha as the interim/acting director of the central agency after the retirement of Rishi Kumar Shukla on February 2. It was only in May that Subodh Kumar Jaiswal was appointed the new director of the Central Bureau of Investigation for a two-year tenure.
The Supreme Court bench comprising Justices L Nageswara Rao and BR Gavai pointed out at the beginning of the hearing that since the director had been appointed, the matter had become infructuous, PTI reported.
Advocate Prashant Bhushan, appearing for Common Cause, told the court that he was also asking for a direction to be issued to the Centre to pick the director of the Central Bureau of Investigation at least two months before the post is to fall vacant, the news agency reported.
“The Centre knew that the CBI director was retiring in February,” Bhushan said, according to PTI. “There was no Covid at that time and they could have easily initiated the process of selecting the new director but they didn’t do that. This is happening repeatedly and they are flouting orders of this court. This has to stop.”
The Supreme Court said it cannot pass blanket orders on the petition. “File contempt petition,” the judges told Bhushan. “Why should we reiterate what we said in the Prakash Singh case? If there is another cause of action you file a plea then. How can we pass an order when there is no list before us. Now we have to anticipate and pass directions.”
The Prakash Singh judgement dates back to 2006 when the Supreme Court the creation of boards and commissions composed of bureaucrats which would wield the power to take decisions such as transfers, postings and dismissals. Further it curtailed the powers of the government to fire senior officials.
However, the court on Wednesday asked Attorney General KK Venugopal to respond to Bhushan’s arguments, Live Law reported. The case will be heard on October 25.