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SC verdict on CBI versus CBI has neither exonerated Alok Verma nor rejected CVC probe report
The SC verdict on CBI versus CBI is being explained very differently by different people suiting their interests. Some say it's a big blow to Narendra Modi as SC reinstated Alok Verma as CBI chief.

The Congress says that it's a big win for institutional integrity. Other politicians said that Narendra Modi's action against Alok Verma is rejected by SC. Is it so? I have read the detailed SC verdict. It neither quashed CVC report, nor exonerated Alok Verma. The verdict simply interpreted whether CVC can ask for divestment of powers of CBI Director.

Interestingly as per the act the appointment of CBI director is to be done by high power committee comprised of Prime Minister as chairmen and CJI along with Lop as members. The Verdict say in paragraph 21 that 'Though the Director, CBI is to be appointed by the central government on the recommendation of a similar High Power Committee, no provision with regards to interim suspension or removal is to be found in DSPE Act, 1946, notwithstanding the fact that the said act i.e. DSPE Act was amended by the CVC Act, 2003. The CVC Act, 2003 and the amendments made in the DSP Act, 1946 were clearly made to bring provisions thereof in proximity to the directions issued by this court in Vineet Narain (Supra) so far as the CVC and the CBI concerns'.

The CVC Act, 2003 in its clause-4A mention about appointment of CBU director through the high power committee of PM, CJI and LoP. Clause 4-B(1) says CBI director to have two years of tenure irrespective the superannuation dates. ClauseB (II) states that 'the director shall not be transferred except with consent of the committee referred in 4A (I).  

The SC in fact interpreted that the divestment of CBI Director's power and asking him to go on leave too constitute akin to 'Transfer' thus to be referred to the high power committee.

That's why it has set aside the orders of CVC divesting the power of CBI Director dated 23rd October 2018; the subsequent order by the government of India informing the CVC order and the government's order of appointing M Nageswar Rao, IPS.

However, having set aside those orders, again SC imposed divestment of power of the so called reinstated CBI director as per paragraph 41 which says as below,

"As the issue of the divestment of power and authority of the Director, CBI is still open for consideration by the committee and our interference with impugned orders has been on the ground indicated above, we deem it proper to direct that the petitioner Shri Alok Verma, Director, CBI, upon reinstatement, will cease and desist from taking any major policy decision till the decision of the committee permitting such actions and decisions becomes available within the time frame indicated. We further make it explicit that the role of the petitioner Shri Alok Kumar Verma as the Director, CBI during the interregnum and in terms of this order will be confined only to the exercise of the ongoing routine functions without any fresh initiative, having no major policy or institutional implications."

In Para-40, the Court has asked for meeting of high power committee to be conducted in a week time to take a call on the CVC probe report against Alok Verma.

Now the points are very clear. SC just interpreted that 'Transfer' also means temporary suspensions, divestment of power and force leave. That's why it asked consent of the Selection committee for appropriate action. It disposed all other IAs such as transfer posting by interim director and all other cases citing that those could be redressed in appropriate forum.

Interestingly, Alok Verma's tenure gets over on 31st January 2019. His reinstatement without power will hold for a week till the selection committee takes a call. The CJI has already observed that CVC reports are very uncomfortable, that means CJI already knew that there are some prima-fascia evidence against the CBI director, else the court would have reinstated him with full power. Thus one can understand what would be CJI's stand as CJI is a member of the high power committee. Another member is PM. No prize for guessing what would be his opinion. Thus, irrespective of Kharge's support, I think Alok Verma is most likely to be sacked.

But then, it can be viewed bit differently. May be the court is aware that Verma's tenure is ending on 31st January 2019. Thus, to upkeep CBI's reputation it gave a chance to Verma for an honourable exit if he resigns before the selection committee takes its call. We will see how things unfolded in coming times. But fact remains that SC verdict on this case is a very balancing act and no one should interpret it selectively suiting to their interest. Sometimes we should see things beyond our political point scoring in the interest of reputation and image of our national premier institutions.

Editorial NOTE: This article is categorized under Opinion Section. The views expressed in this article are solely those of the author and do not necessarily represent the views of In case you have a opposing view, please click here to share the same in the comments section.
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