Millennium Post

LS passes bill on CBI chief's appointment; Cong resists

The Delhi Special Police Establishment (Amendment) Bill, 2014, provides for inclusion of leader of the single largest opposition party in the three-member committee that selects the CBI Director since there is no recognised Leader of the Opposition in the Lok Sabha. The Committee has Prime Minister and Chief Justice of India as other members.

The amendment bill also provides that "No appointment of a (CBI) Director shall be invalid merely by reason of any vacancy or absence of a member in the committee."

The clause for doing away with the need for attendance of all the three members of the selection panel for choosing a CBI chief was strongly objected to by Congress, which felt it is aimed at keeping it out of the process.

"The bill has been brought exclusively to keep out the single largest opposition party," contended Leader of Congress in Lok Sabha Mallikarjun Kharge, while describing the move as a "double-edged sword" which "poses a big danger".

Minister of State for Personnel Jitendra Singh, while moving the bill for consideration, insisted that there was "no ulterior motive" and the amendment was aimed only to "smoothen" the process of selecting the CBI Director.

The bill was passed by voice vote but not before a division of votes on its consideration as well as an amendment moved by BJD member Tathagat Satpathy, which was rejected.

Earlier, Kharge made a strong plea to the government to withdraw the measure even at this late stage and bring forward a comprehensive amendment. He was supported by BJD members Tathagat Satpathy and Bhartruhari Mahtab.

He alleged that the amendments have been brought deliberately to "humiliate" the opposition.

Rejecting the opposition charge, Jitendra Singh said the move was not unprecedented as similar provisions are there in the Lokpal Act, CVC Act and the National Judicial Appointments Commission Act.

He asked the opposition to look at the measure objectively and not subjectively.

Naidu said that the bill was brought to strengthen the functioning of CBI, which has been maligned in recent times.

He said government can think later on bringing about further amendments to the measure.

Taking a dig at Congress, he remarked "we (BJP) never got recognition" during the tenure of Pandit Nehru, Indira Gandhi and Rajiv Gandhi.
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