Daily News Analysis

Central Bureau of Investigation

4th September, 2021 Polity

Context:

  • JHARKHAND HIGH Court has expressed disappointment over the CBI’s inability to identify three people who had suspiciously crossed the site where Dhanbad Additional Sessions Judge Uttam Anand was knocked down by an auto in July leading to his death.

Figure 3: CBI Structure

Issues with CBI:

  • Dependence on central government:
  • CBI can investigate only those cases which are referred to it by State. It cannot suo motto take cases.
  • This gives a chance to political executive to target opposition members and dissenters.
  • Supreme Court had called CBI as ‘caged parrot’ in 2013 due to its functioning as per the wishes of central government.
  • Lack of Financial autonomy:
    • CBI also lacks financial autonomy.
    • It depends entirely on government even for small administrative expenses.
  • Lack of Transparency: Lack of transparency in selection procedure of director and also no effective external monitoring system to check misuse of its power.
  • Lack of Legal Backing:
    • CBI charter of duties are not protected by legislation.
    • Its functions are merely based on resolutions which draws its powers mainly from the Delhi Special Police Establishment Act.
  • Shortage of Man power: According to a Parliamentary panel, 789 posts in executive ranks, 77 posts of law officers and 415 posts of technical officers and staff were lying vacant.

Suggested Reforms

  • Role of Lokpal
    • Lok Pal provides for appointment of director, CBI through a collegium system which is a step in right direction.
    • Lok Pal should be allowed to decide cases which CBI takes up, not the executive.
    • CBI to report to Lok Pal for investigation of such cases. Lok pal can supervise and oversee CBI.
  • Changes in Legal Mechanism
    • Substitute archaic DPSE act by new CBI act. Define the role, jurisdiction and legal powers of CBI.
    • Also give the CBI financial autonomy in the statutory law as has been given to Supreme Court, CAG, etc.
  • Personnel administration reforms
    • Have more establishment in form of judges, prosecutors and support staff for CBI.
    • Have a dedicated cadre for CBI. The current practice of appointing IPS officers may show favouritism towards some political and permanent executive.
  • Improvement of functioning: There’s a dire need to improve the capability of the intelligence-collection machinery and upgrade its resources, the intelligence-sharing mechanism.
  • Enhanced accountability of CBI: There should be an accountability commission headed by three retired Supreme Court or high court judges. The committee will look into cases of grievances against the CBI.

Way Forward:

  • CBI plays a pivotal role in checking corruption at highest levels. The need for autonomy for such an organisation is beyond any question and must be ensured to cleanse our political system.

About Central Bureau of Investigation:

Establishment:

  • The Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) was set up in 1963 by a resolution of the Ministry of Home Affairs. Later, it was transferred to the Ministry of Personnel and now it enjoys the status of an attached office.
  • The Special Police Establishment (which looked into vigilance cases) setup in 1941 was also merged with the CBI.
  • The establishment of the CBI was recommended by the Santhanam Committee on Prevention of Corruption (1962–1964).
  • The CBI is not a statutory body. It derives its powers from the Delhi Special Police Establishment Act, 1946.

Functions:

  • The CBI is the main investigating agency of the Central
  • It plays an important role in the prevention of corruption and maintaining integrity in administration.
  • It also provides assistance to the Central Vigilance Commission and Lokpal.

Composition of CBI:

  • The CBI is headed by a Director.
  • The Director of CBI has been provided security of two-year tenure in office by the CVC Act, 2003.

Appointment of CBI Director

  • The Central Government shall appoint the Director of CBI on the recommendation of a three-member committee consisting of the Prime Minister as Chairperson, the Leader of Opposition in the Lok Sabha and the Chief Justice of India or Judge of the Supreme Court nominated by him.