Introspecting into the Credibility of the Investigating Agencies

Context:

• Recently, while delivering the annual (and the 19th edition) D.P. Kohli Memorial Talk organised by the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI), the CJI questioned the credibility of the investigating agencies in India specially the CBI.

Background:

• The CJI expressed that the investigating officers at a senior level must not compromise on their integrity to please the political executives.
• His words – “ The political executive will change with time. But you, as an institution, are permanent. Be impermeable and be independent. Pledge solidarity to your service. Your fraternity is your strength”
• In reality it is known to everyone that the bureaucracy will be at the will of the political executives but this coming from the head of Indian Judiciary is worrying.
• Even earlier there were apprehensions about the credibility of the institutions, specially regarding the selection procedures.

Structure:

• CBI operates under Delhi Special Police Establishment Act and it also derives its authority to register cases under the same law.
• It is the Central Vigilance Commission which has been tasked with superintendence over CBI, and the CVC Act makes it clear that there cannot be any interference with the investigations conducted by the agency.

Composition of CBI:

• The Director of CBI as Inspector General of Police, Delhi Special Police Establishment Act is responsible for administration of organisation.
• He is provided with a tenure of two years in office by CVC Act, 2003.
• In 2014, the Lokpal Act amended the DSPE and provided a committee for appointment of CBI Director:
• Headed by Prime Minister
• Other members – Leader of Opposition/ Leader of the single largest opposition party, Chief Justice of India/ a Supreme Court Judge.
• There shall be a Directorate of prosecution headed by a director for conducting the prosecution of cases under the Lokpal & Lokayukta Act, 2013.
• He functions under the supervision of Director of CBI, he shall be appointed by the Central Government on the recommendation of CVC and hold the office for a term of two years.

Challenges:

• The Supreme Court of India has criticised the CBI by calling it a “caged parrot speaking in its master’s voice”, due to excessive political interference in its functioning.
• CBI is exempted from the provisions of the Right to Information Act, thus, lacking public accountability.
• Acute shortage of personnel: A major cause of the shortfall is the government’s sheer mismanagement of CBI’s workforce, through a system of inefficient, and inexplicably biased, recruitment policies – used to bring in favoured officers, possibly to the detriment of the organisation.
• Limited Powers: The powers and jurisdiction of members of the CBI for investigation are subject to the consent of the State Govt., thus limiting the extent of investigation by CBI.

 

Source: THE HINDU.

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