IASbaba’s Daily Current Affairs – 5th December, 2016
General Studies 3
Various Security forces and agencies and their mandate
General Studies 2
Structure, organization and functioning of the Executive
Separation of powers between various organs dispute redressal mechanisms and institutions.
Central Bureau of Investigation- A roadmap to revamp
A new interim chief of CBI is appointed which has been called a ‘caged parrot’. Though the job may seem glamourous, it has been frequently called a ‘crown of thorns’. In the times of rampant corruption and number of new sensitive cases coming across CBI, it has to now gear up for more effective changes to increase organisational efficiency.
The role of CBI chief is critical one as it is constantly under public glare and scrutiny by media.
As a CBI chief, he is regularly in contact with top executives of the government, especially the PM to brief about all the major issues concerning the organisation. But, at the same time it has to be maintained that the chief maintains an individuality while overseeing investigations as he/she is answerable to law only.
The current CBI chief has various functions to be performed in order to bring the system to being more independent and public friendly.
Clean up target
Enforcement Directorate has recently reported adversely against two former CBI chiefs. Hence, the first focus will be to undoing the damage caused by some predecessors.
This is a difficult task to do but it is necessary to instil public confidence in the CBI as a fearless agency that will not hesitate to proceed against its own erring personnel.
Many reports have surfaced stating dishonesty and harassment of the public by those at top positions in the CBI.
Here it is necessary to investigate against allegations of dishonest actions as well as stringent actions against misbehaving staff in the agency. This will be in conformity with Prime Minister’s drive against dishonesty in high offices.
The weak points
It is widely known that CBI is vulnerable to political pressure. Though less than 10 per cent of the cases handed over to the CBI have political overtones, there is still some truth in charge of politicisation in investigations.
Thus, there is a need of team of reliable people who are insulated from external pressures whenever conducting high profile investigations. This will go a long way to boost CBI’s credibility.
Though, even after maintaining utmost care, there are full chances of allegations and counter allegations. But this should not deter or disturb the organisation or leadership effectiveness of CBI chief.
Even the most credible institution such as the Federal Bureau of Investigation was recently under fire while investigating cyber misconduct by Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton. Hence, such events will occur but it shouldn’t affect the organisational targets.
The closure of investigation takes enormous time which has severely dented its effectiveness.
As a former CVC had put it in light-heartedness, CBI is like a black hole. Nothing that goes in ever comes out of it. But, this should not be taken casually.
This is the current system which is prevailing totally in entire criminal justice system.
There is an obligation on the part of every CBI director to explore all possible avenues to speed up investigation but it is more easily said than done.
To make good of it, the CBI can take up less cases. But then there is no another professional investigative agency at centre which can take the less important case can be delivered.
Hence, the appropriate alternate is to work towards expanding CBI’s infrastructure, especially the manpower by requesting the Department of Personnel and Training headed by PM,that provides administrative support to the CBI, to look into this matter.
Unpopular as medium of employment
Attracting new talent and youth into CBI is a tough job as it is not much popular amongst them in the central government jobs.
Thus, there is need for looking at service conditions for direct recruitment to the CBI with a fresh and updated mindset.
Traditional thinking and red-tapesim have to go in order to recruit more and generously improve emoluments (outside the rigid government pay structure) of the eternally demoralised direct recruits.
One can be on the lines of Central Intelligence Agency wherein CBI goes to campuses and promotes the idea of working in a rewarding as well as challenging environment. Capable but unaware candidates can take this as an opportunity.
Compulsory State coordination
One of the great constraints on CBI is that it is dependent on state governments for invoking its authority to investigate cases in a State, even if a central government employee is a target.
As CBI acts per the procedure prescribed by the Code of Criminal Procedure (CrPC), it becomes a police agency. And because police is a state subject under Constitution of India, CBI needs the consent of the State government before it starts its investigation in the state.
In such a condition, there is a case by case consent or authorisation to be taken or a blanket approval of a class of offences which makes it a cumbersome and time taking clerical procedure which ultimately affects the investigation.
CBI derives power to investigate from the Delhi Special Police Establishment Act, 1946.
Later on, the Government of India set up Central Bureau of Investigation by a resolution dated 1st April, 1963. Hence, CBI is not a statutory body as it was created by executive resolution.
Today it has following divisions
Anti Corruption Division
Economic Offences Division
Special Crimes Division
Directorate of Prosecution
Policy & Coordination Division
Central Forensic Science Laboratory
Special Cells were created to take up investigations in important & sensational cases of conventional nature.
Over a period of time, some of the work originally allotted to the CBI was transferred to other organisations. Part of the work relating to Crime Records and Statistics Division was transferred to NCRB and that relating to Research Division was transferred to BPR&D.
In the last 65 years, the organisation has evolved from an anti corruption agency to a multi faceted, multi disciplinary central police law enforcement agency.
Director, CBI as Inspector General of Police, Delhi Special Police Establishment, is responsible for the administration of the organisation. With enactment of CVC Act, 2003, the Superintendence of Delhi Special Police Establishment vests with the Central Government except investigations of offences under the Prevention of Corruption Act, 1988, in which, the superintendence vests with the Central Vigilance Commission.
CBI has been provided security of two year tenure in CBI by the CVC Act, 2003. The CVC Act also provides mechanism for selection of Director, CBI and other officers of the rank of SP and above in CBI.
The CBI is subject to three ministries of the Government of India and Two Constitutional bodies:-
Ministry of Home Affairs: Cadre Clearance
DoPT: Administration, Budget and Induction of non IPS officers
Union Public Service Commission: Officers of and above the rank of Deputy SP
Law and Justice Ministry: Public prosecutors
Central Vigilance Commission: Anti-corruption cases.
Previous attempt of reforms
The UPA government had appointed a Select Committee that had given several recommendations for strengthening the CBI. It included
Appointment of the Director of CBI through a collegium comprising of the PM, Leader of the Opposition of the Lok Sabha and Chief Justice of India.
Power of superintendence over CBI in relation to Lok Pal referred cases shall vest in the Lokpal.
CBI officers investigating cases referred by the Lokpal will be transferred with the approval of the Lokpal
For cases referred by the Lokpal, the CBI may appoint a panel of advocates (other than government advocates) with the consent of the Lok pal.
Though the police infrastructure is in critical condition, there are minimal chances of any constitutional amendments pertaining to police reforms in India. But it is equally important for CBI to work efficiently in order to sustain its credibility.
Hence, as suggested by many former CBI directors, there should be a promulgation of a CBI Act which is on par with the Customs Act or the Income Tax Act. This will allow CBI officers to enjoy and efficiently utilise independent powers of investigation — outside the CrPC — without being at the mercy of State governments.
There are concerns about CBI becoming far too autonomous and powerful but they are irrational given the fact that there always will be checks and balances to maintain the accountability of the institution.
Connecting the dots:
What is the mandate of CBI? Analyse its importance with respect to legislature, executive and judiciary establishments.
How is CBI a multi-disciplinary central police law enforcement agency? Can it promote cooperative federalism? Discuss.