Plea on Nageswara Rao's appointment: CJI Ranjan Gogoi recuses himself from hearing, says he is on panel to pick new CBI chief

Chief Justice of India (CJI) Ranjan Gogoi on Monday recused himself from hearing a plea challenging M Nageswara Rao's appointment as interim director of the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI), according to media reports.

"I am participating in the selection committee meeting and so I will not be hearing this," said the CJI. ANI reported that he sought transparency in the process of short-listing, selection and appointment of the CBI director.

The bench, also comprising Justice Sanjiv Khanna, then said that the PIL filed by NGO 'Common Cause' would be heard by some other appropriate bench.

The petition challenging Rao's appointment, filed by NGO Common Cause and RTI activist Anjali Bhardwaj, has sought laying down of specific mechanisms to ensure transparency in the process of appointment of CBI director.

The petition alleged that Rao's appointment was not made on the basis of recommendations of the high-powered selection committee, comprising the prime minister, the leader of the single largest Opposition party and the Chief Justice of India or a judge of the apex court nominated by him.

"In fact, it appears that the committee was completely bypassed and had no role in the appointment of Rao, thereby rendering the appointment illegal as it is in violation of the procedure for appointment of Director, CBI laid down in the DSPE (Delhi Special Police Establishment) Act," the plea, filed through advocate Prashant Bhushan, said.

The plea will now be heard by another bench on 24 January, the day when Prime Minister Narendra Modi-led selection committee is also scheduled to meet.

The high-powered panel will discuss probable names for the coveted post. Former CBI director Alok Verma was removed as the chief of the central agency on 10 January, three weeks before he was to demit his office.

With inputs from agencies

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Updated Date: Jan 22, 2019 08:30:32 IST

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