New Delhi: Observing that the possibility of the CBI being used as a “political instrument” remains ever present, Chief Justice of India Ranjan Gogoi posed a question on Tuesday: “Why is that whenever there is no political overtone to a case, the agency does a good job?”
Justice 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 D.P. Kohli mem-orial lecture, organised by the agency after a hiatus of two years, Justice Gogoi said, “The CBI should be giv-en statutory status thr-ough legislation equivalent to that provided to the Comptroller and Auditor General... I have no doubt that there is more strength within the organisation to deal with any situation,” he said.
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.
He said many recommendations of the judiciary to reform the functioning of the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) 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.