Facing hurdles from the Centre on its way to attain autonomy, the CBI on Tuesday asserted in the Supreme Court that the agency needs to be freed from clutches of bureaucracy.
It told the apex court that road blocks are still there on its way to attaining functional autonomy as the Centre was averse to vesting its Director with ex-officio powers of Secretary which would ensure independent working of the agency.
"We (CBI) need freedom from babudom," senior advocate Amrendra Sharan said while pointing out hurdles faced by the agency at evey stage in its administrative functioning.
When a bench headed by Justice RM Lodha asked why he was so much against the bureaucracy, he said "it is because everything which we are seeking is returned" and "every proposal passes through head clerks".
The apex court, which was in agreement with CBI's proposal that its Director be vested with ex-officio powers of Secretary for reporting directly to the Minister without having to go through the Department of Personnel and Training (DoPT), asked the Attorney General GE Vahanvati to make a categorical statement in this regard.
The Attorney General told the bench that he can only make a statement after seeking instructions from the concerned authority as senior advocate Amarender Sharan, appearing for the CBI, submitted that the Centre was not agreeing to the agency's proposal in this regard or for vesting the Director with the power to appoint Special Counsel.
Sharan said there are other police forces in which the Director General has been vested with ex-officio power of Secretary to the Government.
The bench, which asked the Attorney General to come out with a stand on the two issues, also wanted to know from him whether any Bill was on the anvil to grant functional autonomy to CBI to insulate it from extraneous influences.
"What happened to proposed amendment (in the Delhi Special Police Establishment Act). It is also important.
Many Bills have been passed by Parliament. Was there any Bill introduced relating to autonomy of the CBI," the bench asked Vahanvati, who said there was no such Bill in the monsoon session but officialy work was in progress.