New Delhi: The Supreme Court on Thursday reserved its verdict on the CBI director Alok Verma‘s plea challenging the October 23 government order that divested him of his duties and sent him on a leave.
Solicitor General Tushar Mehta, appearing for the CVC, referred to apex court judgements and laws governing the CBI and said the Commission’s superintendence (over the CBI) encompasses “surprise, extraordinary situations”.
A bench headed by Chief Justice Ranjan Gogoi said Attorney General KK Venugopal told it that circumstances culminating in the situation started in July.
The bench asked, “Fight between the two senior most CBI officers did not emerge overnight so why did government take immediate steps to divest the CBI Director Alok Verma of his powers without consulting the Selection Committee?”
CJI Gogoi told Mehta, “The Government has to be fair, what was the difficulty in consulting the selection committee before divesting Alok Verma of his power? The essence of every government action should be to adopt the best course.”
He also asked, “What prompted the Government to take an overnight decision on October 23 to divest CBI director Alok Verma of his powers? When Verma was retiring in a few months, why not wait for few more months and consult selection committee?”
Mehta, before concluding his arguments, said, “Extraordinary situation arose, CVC order was passed impartially. Two senior most officers were fighting and investigating cases against each other, instead of probing serious cases. CVC’s inaction would have been a dereliction of duty.”
Appearing for Verma, Advocate Fali Nariman said, “In all circumstances, they must consult the selection committee. Transfer, in this case, doesn’t mean transfer in service jurisprudence. A transfer doesn’t only mean one place to another.”
He pointed out, “The Attorney General had said Verma and Asthana fought like Kilkenny cats, but lodging of FIR was the duty of CBI Director.”