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A Candid Conversation About The Caged Parrot


Chief Justice of India remarked about the pathetic state of India’s investigation agencies. He chided for the utter subordination of agencies to the executive and its disastrous consequences for the cause of justice.


GS-II: Statutory, Regulatory and various Quasi-judicial Bodies.

Dimensions of the Articles

  • Judiciary’s gaze
  • Some Changes
  • A bright spot and lows
  • Way Forward

Judiciary’s Gaze

  • Politicization of Investigation agencies is well known to Indians.
  • However, warning by CJI shall be taken seriously by all especially CBI.
  • CJI called for standing up to unethical pressures and not to betray trust of the public.
  • Middle and Senior Level investigators would pay dearly for deviation off the path of objectivity and neutrality.
  • Supreme Court and High Courts have often admonished investigation agencies for their sloppy investigation.
  • A strong Supreme Court and an equally strong High Court is needed to keep our investigation agencies on a straight and narrow path.

Some Changes

  • No denying that gross misuse of CBI has been done by the governments.
  • In 1997, Justice J.S Verma lambasted the CBI Director in the Hawala Case for delaying the investigation.
  • He went on to prescribe a new clinical process for the selection of CBI Chief, giving it a fixed tenure of two years during which he could not be removed by the government.
  • Process has since been expanded to include the CJI in the selection of the CBI Director.
  • Even after reprimands from judiciary, the CBI has not transformed into an honest and upright body.
  • Political Interference argument falls flat when only about 10% of the cases handled by the CBI has political overtones.

A Bright spot and lows

  • There needs to be a strong, ethical and virtuous leader who will not only be honest but protect its deputies.
  • CBI to tread the path of honesty, it must have a strong head with strong belief in laws and ethics.
  • No matter how much judiciary tries, there can always be someone who can subvert the changes.
  • An honest approach needs to be integrated internally within an agency and not by mere tinkering with the criminal law and selection panel.
  • Many in higher judiciary do not want to exceed their brief and upset things and refrain from judicial activism.
  • Steps so far taken to remove corruption from high echelons of the government are only cosmetic.

Way Forward

An umbrella organization may not be the required solution but weeding out of dishonest officers, politicians and rewarding those who show exemplary courage and honesty will go long way in setting benchmarks for future generation to follow.

Source – The Hindu

November 2023