Dr Jitendra introduces ‘landmark’ bill for appointment of CBI Director

Excelsior Correspondent
NEW DELHI, Nov 25: The Government today introduced in the Lok Sabha a historically “landmark” Bill to amend the Delhi Special Police Establishment Act, 1946 thereby paving the way for smooth appointment of new Director of CBI (Central Bureau of Investigation) in place of the present incumbent who is attaining superannuation on December 2.
The Bill moved on behalf of the Government by Dr Jitendra Singh, Union Minister of State (Independent Charge) for Development of North Eastern Region (DoNER) and MoS in PMO, Personnel, Public Grievances and Pensions, Space & Atomic Energy, provides for including leader of the single largest opposition party in the Lok Sabha as a member of the 3-Member Committee for appointment of the Director of CBI. The other two Members of the 3-Member Committee are Prime Minister of India and Chief Justice of India.
The need for such a provision was prompted by the fact that in the 15th Lok Sabha, the Congress party, in spite of being the single largest party in the House, did not qualify to get its leader recognized as leader of the opposition because of its total tally of MPs being lower than the minimum number required as per the Constitution.
Through this amendment, while on the one hand, leader of single largest opposition party namely the Congress will find a place in the Committee to select CBI Director, on the other hand, the process of the selection of the new Director for CBI will not be hindered on account of the absence of a constitutionally recognized leader of opposition in the Lok Sabha.
While introducing the Bill, Dr Jitendra Singh said, it was during the Congress led UPA Government that Section 4A of Delhi Special Police Establishment Act, 1946, as amended by the Lokpal and Lokayuktas Act, 2013 (1 of 2014) provided for a Committee for recommending a panel of officers to the Central Government for appointment as Director CBI and as per the new provision in clause (b) of sub-section (1) of Section 4A, the Leader of Opposition in the Lok Sabha was included as one of the members of the said Committee.
However, ironically, said Dr Jitendra Singh, nobody had foreseen that such a situation would arise when even the largest opposition party would find its numbers reduced to such a low digit that their leader would be unable to qualify to be recognized as leader of the Opposition. In the present situation, therefore, he added, when there is no recognized Leader of Opposition in the Lok Sabha, it is appropriate to amend clause (b) of sub-section (1) of Section 4A of the Delhi Special Police Establishment Act and thus unable the leader of the largest Opposition party ,which is incidentally the Congress, to occupy this position in the selection of CBI Director.
Dr Jitendra Singh emphasized the urgency for the passage of the Bill citing the retirement of the present incumbent Ranjit Sinha on December 22. Another important clause proposed in the amendment provides that the appointment of a Director shall not be invalid merely by reason of any vacancy or absence of a member in the Committee.
The discussion on the Bill began in the post-lunch session of Lok Sabha but remained inconclusive and will continue tomorrow before the Bill is put to vote.

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