Centre announces Praveen Sood as new CBI Director

The article covers the appointment of Praveen Sood as the newly appointed Director of the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) and also touches upon changes made to the appointment process and term of the CBI director in recent years. (Source: The Hindu, 15th May 2023)

Centre announces Praveen Sood as new CBI Director

What is the context?
  • The Department of Personnel and Training has appointed Karnataka’s Director-General of Police (DGP), Praveen Sood, as the Director of the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI).
  • Sood’s appointment places him in charge of the CBI, the country’s premier investigating agency, during the 2024 Lok Sabha election.
Key Points
Lack of Prior Experience:
  • Notably, Mr. Sood has never served with either the CBI or the Union government.
  • He was not empanelled as DGP at the Centre, and his name was not initially shortlisted for the role.
Unique Empanelment Status:
  • In the case of the CBI Director, empanelment at the Centre does not apply, unlike in other Central government appointments.
  • In the context of government appointments, empanelment refers to the process of creating a panel or list of eligible candidates for a particular position. Empanelment involves assessing and shortlisting individuals who meet the required qualifications and criteria for a specific role.
  • In the context of the appointment of the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) Director, the usual empanelment process followed for other Central government appointments does not apply. It means the selection and appointment of the CBI Director may have different criteria or procedures, distinct from the general empanelment process, as specified by the Delhi Special Police Establishment (DSPE) Act, 1946.
  • The Director derives powers under the Delhi Police Special Establishment Act, 1946.
Official Order and Tenure:
  • The Competent Authority has approved the appointment of Mr. Praveen Sood as the Director of the CBI for a two-year period, starting from the date of assuming office.
  • This appointment follows the completion of the tenure of the outgoing Director, Mr. Subodh Kumar Jaiswal.
Selection Panel:

Mr. Sood’s name was finalized by a three-member panel consisting of Prime Minister Narendra Modi, Chief Justice of India D.Y. Chandrachud, and Leader of Opposition in the Lok Sabha Adhir Ranjan Chowdhury.

Appointment of CBI Director and Relevant Acts:
1.Appointment Process till 2014:
  • The appointment of the CBI Director was governed by the Delhi Special Police Establishment (DSPE) Act, 1946.
  • The Central Government appointed the Director based on recommendations of a committee.
  • 2. Appointment Process after 2014:
  • The Lokpal and Lokayuktas Act, 2013 introduced changes to the composition and appointment process of the CBI Director.
  • 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 a nominated Supreme Court judge) recommends the appointment.
3. Delhi Special Police Establishment (Amendment) Act, 2014:
  • This amendment changed the composition of the committee for appointing the CBI Director.
  • It stated that if there is no recognized leader of the Lok Sabha, the leader of the single largest opposition party in the Lok Sabha would be a member of the committee.
Supreme Court Rulings on Appointment Process:
  1. Vineet Narain vs. Union of India (1998):

The Supreme Court ruled that the responsibility of appointing the CBI Director lies with a committee consisting of the Central Vigilance Commissioner, vigilance commissioners, Secretary (Home), and Secretary (Personnel).The court also said that The Director should have a minimum tenure of two years.

  1. Prakash Singh Case (2019):

The Supreme Court clarified that officers with less than six months left in service should not be considered for the position of Director General of Police (DGP).

Recent Developments:
  • July 2018 Order:

In 2018, the Supreme Court restrained states and Union territories from appointing acting DGPs to avoid favoritism and nepotism.

  • CJI Ramana’s Precedent:

Chief Justice of India, N.V. Ramana, set a new precedent in the selection of the CBI chief.

The Prakash Singh judgment, related to the appointment of DGPs of state police, influenced the CBI Director appointment process.

Potential Impact on Other Appointments:
  • The CBI appointment process, guided by the Vineet Narain judgment, CVC Act, and Lokpal Act, may also impact appointments in other agencies like the Intelligence Bureau (IB) and Research and Analysis Wing (R&AW).
  • It’s important to note that the appointment process and related developments are subject to change based on new legislation, government policies, and court judgments. The information provided is based on the understanding up to September 2021.

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