CJI recuses from hearing plea challenging interim CBI chief’s appointment

New Delhi: Chief Justice of India (CJI) Ranjan Gogoi on Monday recused himself from hearing a plea challenging the appointment of M. Nageswara Rao as the interim CBI director.

He has said that the petition should be heard by a court number 2 presided by justice AK Sikri.

Seeking transparency in the process of short-listing, selection and appointment of the CBI director, the CJI said he would be participating in a meeting of the selection panel to select the agency chief.

The high-powered selection committee comprises the prime minister, the leader of the largest opposition party and the CJI or his nominee judge of the apex court.

The plea is now scheduled to be heard on January 24 by another bench.

A bench comprising CJI and Justice Sanjiv Khanna was hearing a PIL filed by NGO Common Cause challenging the appointment of Rao as interim CBI director.

The plea sought quashing of the January 10 order stating that duties of former CBI Director Alok Verma were to be handed over to Rao as an interim measure.

The plea also sought transparency in the process of short-listing, selection and appointment of the CBI Director.

January 10 order states that the Appointment Committee of the Cabinet approved the appointment of Nageshwar Rao “as per the earlier arrangement”.

This earlier arrangement – October 23, 2018 order making Rao interim CBI Director, had been quashed by the Supreme Court on January 8 as it was made in violation of the procedure for appointment of CBI Director as defined in the DSPE Act, said the petition.

(With inputs from agencies)