- CBI should get "statutory status through legislation", said Chief Justice
- This will free the probe agency from administrative control, he added
- Statutory status, he said, must be equivalent to that of national auditor
Chief Justice of India Ranjan Gogoi on Tuesday said the country's premier investigating agency-- the Central Bureau of Investigation -- should get "statutory status through legislation" to free it from administrative control. The statutory status, he said, must be equivalent to that of the national auditor, the Comptroller & Auditor General and advocated administrative and financial autonomy for the agency.
Speaking at an event organised by the CBI, Justice Gogoi praised the CBI for being one of the few investigative agencies that has managed to carve out "a special place" for itself. Then he said, "Why is it that whenever there are no political overtones to the case, the CBI does a good job?"
The public attention, he said, is "more often than not" drawn to failure than success of any public institution.
"True, in a number of high-profile and politically sensitive cases the agency has not been able to meet the standards of judicial scrutiny. Equally true it is that such lapses may not have happened infrequently," he said. "Such instances reflect systemic issues and indicate a deep mismatch between institutional aspirations, organisational design, working culture, and governing politics."
"Given that the superintendence and control of the agency continues to, in large measure, lie with the executive by virtue of Section 4 of the Delhi Special Police Establishment Act 1946, the possibility of it being used as a political instrument remains ever present," he said, before adding "I have no doubt that there is more than enough strength within the organisation to deal with any such situation."
"Efforts must be made to delink crucial aspects of CBI from the overall administrative control of the government. CBI should be given statutory status through legislation equivalent to that provided to the Comptroller & Auditor General (CAG). The legal mandate of CBI must be strengthened by having a comprehensive legislation addressing deficiencies relating to organisational structure, charter of functions, limits of power, superintendence, and oversight," he said.