Letter to BS: No legislation can protect officers from political meddling

Photo: PTI
This refers to the statement of the Honourable CJI that the “Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) failed in judicial scrutiny in politically sensitive cases”. In that context, the CJI said: "CBI should be given statutory status through legislation equivalent to that provided to the CAG". Now the legislation provided for the Comptroller and Auditor General of India (CAG) is called the CAG Act (Duties and rights of CAG) passed in 1971 and amended in 1976. It only enumerates where CAG can act, what are his functions etc. There is nothing to protect him from political interference. If none actually interferes with the CAG, it is not because of this Act but because he holds a constitutional post and also he does not do investigation in criminal cases or cases of export of meat by highly suspect characters. Obviously, this sort of Act regarding the CBI will not give it any protection from interference from the political heavyweights.

Frankly, no Act of Parliament can give any protection to officers from political interference. Such interference is not done in writing or in public. The officer is called and told to do this or that, not always by the political boss himself/herself but (may be) by the secretary of the department concerned or somebody else who counts. I know these things for certain having been an ex-insider. In a government where the strict and honest officers are asked to compromise where intellectual honesty is hardly existent, none should expect very strict and honest officers to reach the highest of height. Ours is a country where in the Supreme Court, senior lawyer Shanti Bhushan declared openly that half of all the Chief Justices of the Supreme Court were dishonest and he gave a sealed cover containing the material against them and no contempt proceeding has been initiated against him. So expecting that only the CBI officers will be the epitome of virtues, is sheer wishful thinking.

The character of people must change and that will take a long time.
Sukumar Mukhopadhyay (via email)

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