Verma's two-year tenure as the Director of CBI ends on January 31. He had moved the apex court challenging the Centre's decision
The Supreme Court of India (SC) on January 8 overturned the Centre's decision to divest Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) Director Alok Verma of his duties.
The verdict was delivered by a bench comprising of Chief Justice of India (CJI) Ranjan Gogoi and Justices SK Kaul and KM Joseph.
"The legislative intent of insulating the CBI director is manifest," the court said in the judgement.
SC asked the government to approach the Selection Committee. The top court reinstated Verma but ruled that he cannot take major policy decisions till the committee's decision.
The court also ruled that further decisions against Verma would be taken by the high-powered committee which appoints the CBI Director.
Verma and his deputy Rakesh Asthana were both sent on a forced leave in October by the government amid a feud between the two.
The bench headed by CJI Gogoi had on December 6 reserved the judgement after hearing arguments on behalf of Verma, the Centre, the Central Vigilance Commission (CVC) and others.
Verma's two-year tenure as the Director of CBI ends on January 31. He had moved the apex court challenging the Centre's decision.
Speaking to the media after the SC verdict, Finance Minister Arun Jaitley said the government will comply with the verdict.
Jaitley said the decision of sending Verma and Asthana on leave was taken on the recommendation of the CVC.
However, Jaitley added that the Centre had not read the full order and would only react after going through it.
Reacting to the apex court’s verdict, the Indian National Congress tweeted, "We welcome the Supreme Court's verdict lambasting the government against their illegal removal of Alok Verma as CBI Director."
Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal tweeted: "SC reinstating CBI director Alok Verma is a direct indictment of the PM. Modi government has ruined all institutions and democracy in our country. Wasn't CBI director illegally removed at midnight to stall the probe in Rafale scam which directly leads to PM himself?"
Senior advocate Prashant Bhushan termed it a "partial victory" for Verma. Speaking to reporters, Bhushan said "What is the meaning of reinstating him as the CBI director, if he cannot take any major policy decision."Speaking to reporters, senior advocate Sanjay Hegde hailed the top court’s decision, terming it a "victory not just for Alok Verma, but for independence of CBI".