Disquieting decision: on CBI tussle

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Disquieting decision: on CBI tussle

The unseemly tussle in the CBI’s top echelons reaches an unsatisfactory end
The removal of Alok Verma as Director of the Central Bureau of Investigation is a disconcerting denouement to an unseemly episode. The controversy(वादविवाद/तकरार) that began(शुरू हुआ) with a public tussle(खींचतान,संघर्ष/झगड़ा) between Mr. Verma and Special Director Rakesh Asthana has ended with the former’s removal, although it is couched as a transfer. It was obvious(स्पष्ट/ज़ाहिर) from the beginning that the government did not want him to continue, although it sought to give the impression(प्रभाव/धारणा) that it was being even-handed in asking both Mr. Verma and Mr. Asthana to proceed on leave(छुट्टी ). Mr. Verma’s transfer has exposed an uncomfortable(असहज/असुविधाजनक ) truth — that the legal protection for the CBI Director from external(बाहरी) interference is not as strong as some had believed. The Supreme Court’s judgment makes it clear that as long as such transfers follow a set procedure(प्रक्रिया निर्धारित करें), the incumbent(निर्भर/असाध्य ) may be replaced. Though the court declared(घोषित ) that no authority, other than the high-powered selection committee, could transfer him, its reinstatement(बहाली) of Mr. Verma was not unconditional(बिना शर्त/असुविधाजनक). It asked the committee — comprising(शामिल/दाखिल करना) the Prime Minister, the Chief Justice of India, and the leader of the largest Opposition party — to decide on whether he should be divested(विभाजन ) of his powers. The government quickly convened(बुलाई) a meeting(बैठक/सभा), which was attended by Justice A.K. Sikri, as the nominee of Chief Justice Ranjan Gogoi. Despite(बावजूद) a dissenting(असंतोष ) note by Mallikarjun Kharge, the majority, that is, Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Justice Sikri, ordered Mr. Verma’s transfer.

Questions have been raised(उठाया) about the committee refusing Mr. Verma a personal(व्यक्तिगत) hearing(सुनवाई). The panel apparently chose not to hear him on the ground that the Central Vigilance Commissioner, who held an inquiry on the Supreme Court’s earlier orders, had heard him in the presence(उपस्थिति,) of the retired(सेवानिवृत्त ) judge, Justice A.K. Patnaik, a supervisor(पर्यवेक्षक) appointed(नियुक्त) by the court, and that the prima facie findings against Mr. Verma were enough to conclude that he should not remain in that office. As he was neither suspended(निलंबित) nor transferred, but only given a post of equal rank(समान पद ), there was no need for a hearing. Even if this position is not strictly (सख्ती) from a legal(कानूनी ) standpoint(दृष्टिकोण), it has serious(गंभीर ) implications(उलझाव/फंसाव) for the CBI’s independence. Future regimes(शासन-पद्धति/) may use this precedent to get such an adverse report against an inconvenient(असुविधाजनक) director and unseat him. Mr. Kharge’s demand for getting Mr. Verma’s response should have been considered.(विचार करना) Mr. Verma has claimed (दावा किया )that the CVC report was based only on the complainant’s charges against him, and did not represent the CVC’s ‘findings’. An important learning from the entire episode is that the bipartisan appointment process for the post with the presence of a high judicial functionary as envisaged(परिकल्पना) by the 2003 amendments(संशोधन) may not be enough(पर्याप्त) to thwart political stratagems(सियासी भूचाल). Far from resolving (समाधान)the institutional crisis(संस्थागत संकट) in the agency, the outcome may have deeply politicised it.

 

 

Important Vocabulary

1.Tussle(खींचतान,संघर्ष/झगड़ा)
Synonyms: brawl, fray, free-for-all, scuffle, skirmish
Antonyms: agreement, harmony, peace, accord, calm

2. Obvious(स्पष्ट/ज़ाहिर)
Synonyms: accessible, clear, conspicuous, discernible, distinct
Antonyms: ambiguous, concealed, dark, disputable, doubtful

3. Controversy(वादविवाद/तकरार)
Synonyms: argument, bickering, difference, discussion, fuss
Antonyms: agreement, concurrence, peace, compliment, harmony

4. Incumbent(निर्भर/असाध्य )
Synonyms: binding, necessary, compelling, urgent

5. Unconditional(बिना शर्त/असुविधाजनक).
Synonyms: decisive, definite, explicit, full, genuine
Antonyms: ambiguous, conditional, equivocal, incomplete, indefinite

6. Convened(बुलाई)
Synonyms: assemble, gather, open, summon, call
Antonyms: disperse, divide, scatter, separate, cancel

7. Uncomfortable(असहज/असुविधाजनक )
Synonyms: annoying, awkward, bitter, difficult, distressing
Antonyms: agreeable, easy, kind, mild, nice

8. Hearing(सुनवाई)
Synonyms: audition, detecting, distinguishing, ear, earshot

9.Supervisor(पर्यवेक्षक)
Synonyms: administrator, boss, chief, curator, custodian
Antonyms: employee, worker

10. Inconvenient(असुविधाजनक)
Synonyms: annoying, awkward, cumbersome, difficult, disturbing
Antonyms: convenient, easy, graceful, handy, nice

11. Strictly (सख्ती)
Synonyms: closely, rigorously, stringently, factually, surely

12. Envisaged(परिकल्पना)
Synonyms: anticipate, behold, conceive, conceptualize, contemplate

13. Crisis(संस्थागत संकट)
Synonyms: catastrophe, change, confrontation, crunch, deadlock
Antonyms: agreement, benefit, blessing, breakthrough, calm

 

 

 

 

Credit To The Hindu News Paper

 

The unseemly tussle in the CBI’s top echelons reaches an unsatisfactory end
The removal of Alok Verma as Director of the Central Bureau of Investigation is a disconcerting denouement to an unseemly episode. The controversy that began with a public tussle between Mr. Verma and Special Director Rakesh Asthana has ended with the former’s removal, although it is couched as a transfer. It was obvious from the beginning that the government did not want him to continue, although it sought to give the impression that it was being even-handed in asking both Mr. Verma and Mr. Asthana to proceed on leave. Mr. Verma’s transfer has exposed an uncomfortable truth — that the legal protection for the CBI Director from external interference is not as strong as some had believed. The Supreme Court’s judgment makes it clear that as long as such transfers follow a set procedure, the incumbent may be replaced. Though the court declared that no authority, other than the high-powered selection committee, could transfer him, its reinstatement of Mr. Verma was not unconditional. It asked the committee — comprising the Prime Minister, the Chief Justice of India, and the leader of the largest Opposition party — to decide on whether he should be divested of his powers. The government quickly convened a meeting, which was attended by Justice A.K. Sikri, as the nominee of Chief Justice Ranjan Gogoi. Despite a dissenting note by Mallikarjun Kharge, the majority, that is, Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Justice Sikri, ordered Mr. Verma’s transfer.

Questions have been raised about the committee refusing Mr. Verma a personal hearing. The panel apparently chose not to hear him on the ground that the Central Vigilance Commissioner, who held an inquiry on the Supreme Court’s earlier orders, had heard him in the presence of the retired judge, Justice A.K. Patnaik, a supervisor appointed by the court, and that the prima facie findings against Mr. Verma were enough to conclude that he should not remain in that office. As he was neither suspended nor transferred, but only given a post of equal rank, there was no need for a hearing. Even if this position is not strictly untenable from a legal standpoint, it has serious implications for the CBI’s independence. Future regimes may use this precedent to get such an adverse report against an inconvenient director and unseat him. Mr. Kharge’s demand for getting Mr. Verma’s response should have been considered. Mr. Verma has claimed that the CVC report was based only on the complainant’s charges against him, and did not represent the CVC’s ‘findings’. An important learning from the entire episode is that the bipartisan appointment process for the post with the presence of a high judicial functionary as envisaged by the 2003 amendments may not be enough to thwart political stratagems. Far from resolving the institutional crisis in the agency, the outcome may have deeply politicised it.