Chief Justice of India Ranjan Gogoi on Tuesday praised the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) for being one of the few investigative agencies that has managed to carve out "a special place" for itself. However, he further said, "Why is it that whenever there are no political overtones to the case, the CBI does a good job?"
Delivering the 18th D P Kohli memorial lecture, organised by the agency after a hiatus of two years, Justice Gogoi asserted that CBI should get "statutory status through legislation" to free it from administrative control. “The statutory status must be equivalent to that of the national auditor, the Comptroller & Auditor General and advocated administrative and financial autonomy for the investigation agency,” he added,
He also suggested for putting 'public order' in the concurrent list, for the limited purposes of investigating interstate crimes. Justice Gogoi further said, "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." "Such instances reflect systemic issues and indicate a deep mismatch between institutional aspirations, organisational design, working culture, and governing politics," he added.
"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 noted. "I have no doubt that there is more than enough strength within the organisation to deal with any such situation," Justice Gogoi added.
"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.
Gogoi also suggested to fill vacancies in the CBI, training of its manpower and maintain morale of the force by enforcing stringent internal accountability. He said as a multi-faceted multi-disciplinary investigating agency with a wide range of work, the CBI has for the most part enjoyed tremendous trust of the citizens.
It is worth mentioning here that D P Kohli was the founder Director of the CBI.
(With inputs from PTI)