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CBI case: Justice Gogoi’s order seen fair and impartial

By IndianMandarins- 26 Oct 2018


CJI Ranjan Gogoi is seen to have acted fairly and impartially during Friday hearing of Alok Verma’s petition. No party to the case was given the reason to grudge.


While the order might have been disappointing to the CBI Director since the apex court did not stay the orders of the Centre and CVC by which they had divested him of his own powers, duties, and functions, Verma has little ground to grudge as the court may still take up that question when it resumes hearing the case on 12 November.


Similarly, the government can be pleased that there has been no interference yet with the decisions taken against Verma, and as of now, their powers of superintendence have not been restricted.


Further, it seems that the CVC’s inquiry into charges against Verma (which would have taken place regardless of any stay on the orders) will be supervised by SC Justice AK Patnaik. While this may ensure fairness in the inquiry, it may also help complete the inquiry within the stipulated two-week time-frame.


Of course, Solicitor-General Tushar Mehta, representing the CVC, objected to these safeguards. However, later he expressed satisfaction with the order following CJI Gogoi insisting that no inferences should be drawn from Justice Patnaik’s involvement as the move was designed to prevent the government and the CVC crossing their constitutional obligations.


The fact that the bench also felt the need to restrict what Nageshwar Rao (who has taken over the functions of the CBI Director in the interim) could do, could also be viewed as a rap on the knuckles of the Centre, who appointed him without following the due process. All decisions taken by him since 23 October are to be submitted in a sealed cover to the SC on 12 November, which means the bench will be scrutinizing everything done while Verma has been sidelined, including the transfers of all the officers investigating Rakesh Asthana.


On the whole, while both sides may have bones to pick with the order, the Centre is likely to be more aggrieved, since Verma’s chief grievance – the orders of the CVC and Centre – could still be easily addressed subsequently by the court.

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