CJI seeks deployment of CBI, police officers in SC registry

The Chief Justice of India, Ranjan Gogoi , has asked the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) to deploy officers in the Supreme Court registry.

Confirming the imminent deployment of his officers, CBI director Rishi Kumar Shukla, who said “the SC has asked us to send officers on deputation”. He refused to share details of how many officers, and of which rank, are likely to be deputed at the apex court by the central anti-corruption agency.

There are diversing rationales being offered for the request.

An official familiar with the development said the CJI has asked for officers of the rank of superintendent of police (SP), senior superintendent of police (SSP), and even inspectors, who will be tasked to monitor activities within the registry, to ensure that there is no preference shown in the listing of cases and employees do not leak information to lawyers, and perhaps even verify the credentials of employees who are posted in the registry.

A a senior Supreme Court registry official who spoke on condition of anonymity said that the CBI officers will not be there to keep an eye on activities of the registry. “They will act only as liasion officers with other agencies for verification of credentials of new people appointed in the court. Under the present system, verification is done only at the local police station level, and we do not know about cases the prospective employee could have in other police stations or states. Now, there will be a more in-depth enquiry.”

Either way, this is the first time CBI officers will be deployed in the Supreme Court.

The CBI is already legally empowered to investigate any form of corruption across to the country but it doesn’t have powers to investigate anything related to the higher judiciary without the permission of the Supreme Court itself.

With the CJI, the administrative authority of the judiciary, himself asking the agency to deploy its officers, it will be interesting to see if the CBI can now register cases automatically upon witnessing any anomaly, said the first official.

A former CBI director who didn’t wish to be named either, said: “This is happening for the first time in the history of CBI and the Supreme Court. According to the Delhi Special Police Establishment (DSPE) act, CBI’s mandate is not to be on deputation to any other department. But since it’s the CJI who has asked the CBI to deploy officers,the act won’t matter and the agency is after all, mandated to investigate on the orders/requests of the Supreme Court”.

Recently, the CJI dismissed two staff of the court over allegations that they changed an order in a case related to a businessman.

First Published:
Jul 19, 2019 23:55 IST

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