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legal | IST

SC to examine if government can pass orders against CBI chief: Here's what experts have to say

The Supreme Court on Thursday commenced its hearing on ousted Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) director Alok Verma's plea against the central vigilance commission (CVC's) decision to divest him of his powers and send him on temporary leave.
The Supreme Court said it would first consider whether the government has the power to divest the CBI director of his duties under whatever circumstances or whether the selection committee headed by the prime minister must be approached before moving against Verma on corruption allegations involving him.
Fali Nariman, Verma's counsel, said Verma was appointed as CBI chief for a fixed tenure of two years and cannot even be transferred.
Nariman submitted if at all there was any proposal to clip the wings of the CBI director, then the proposal should have first gone to the selection committee or the government should have moved the court.
In a reply, the Chief Justice of India (CJI) said that if it becomes necessary to take note of the CVC report then the government will have to submit its response for the same.
The Supreme Court has decided to adjourn the hearing till December 5.
CNBC-TV18 caught up with Aishwarya Bhati, advocate, Supreme Court and Shantanu Sen, former joint director, CBI to discuss the court proceedings.
Aishwarya Bhati said, "I am clearly of the view that the manner in which things have happened, it is not that somebody has been removed from the post. Protection of tenure is a very important feature and that is what has come out of the Supreme Court judgement."
Here the allegations are of corruption, had these important people indulged in some criminal activities, would it still be that they would be immune? That kind of immunity is not available under the rule of law, Bhati said.
"In fact, I must tell you that here this tenure protection is under the Supreme Court orders. The constitution protects the tenure of High Court and Supreme Court judges in our system," Bhati added.
Shantanu Sen said it stands to reason that a person against whom serious charges have been made and we have no doubt that serious charges were made by number two against number one and he made very serious charges and registered an FIR.
Now when they are under inquiry, they should be moved out from the position, not transferred out, not thrown away somewhere else, they stay there but they are subject to inquiry, Sen added.
With inputs from PTI.