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Important Notes

Give CBI a statutory status

The Chief Justice of India has made a powerful suggestion to make the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) free from any political and administrative interference as it has emerged as a key concern. The premier agency should be granted a statutory status through a legislation equivalent to that provided to the Comptroller and Auditor General (CAG).

This is to ensure that the CBI is “delinked” from the “overall administrative control” of the government. Although the CBI has managed to carve out a special place for itself, it has not been able to meet the standards of judicial scrutiny in a number of high-profile and politically sensitive cases. Equally true it is that such lapses may not have happened infrequently. Such instances reflect systemic issues and indicate a deep mismatch between institutional aspirations, organisational design, working culture, and governing politics.

To address increasing incidence of interstate crimes, an argument could be made for including ‘public order’ in the concurrent list, for the limited purposes of investigating such crimes.

The CJI said, “Why is that whenever there are no political overtones to the case, the CBI does a good job. A reverse situation led to the celebrated case of Vineet Narain vs UoI 1996 wherein the SC expressing concern at the state of affairs, laid down explicit guidelines for protecting the integrity of the force.

Quoting the Delhi Special Police Establishment Act, 1946 the CJI says that the possibility of it being used as a political instrument remains ever present.

Further, the lack of adequately qualified and competent workforce is another concern with 15{500813024f95d470e7cafb3286ca9b91f242a317be9a2aa6f1d2da9f36a6fda7} posts in the executive rank, 28.37{500813024f95d470e7cafb3286ca9b91f242a317be9a2aa6f1d2da9f36a6fda7} in the law officer rank and 56.17{500813024f95d470e7cafb3286ca9b91f242a317be9a2aa6f1d2da9f36a6fda7} in the technical officer rank lying vacant.

The recent operationalisation of the Lokpal, is indeed promising and that 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 an increasingly complex time.
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