NEW DELHI: The Central Bureau of Investigation is likely to get its performance as a prosecuting agency appraised by the Supreme Court, which on Friday decided to analyse the agency’s performance and success rate in investigation and prosecution in terms of bringing cases to logical conclusion. The court directed the CBI director to place before it the number of cases in which the agency was successful in getting accused convicted in trial courts and high courts.
A bench of Justices Sanjay Kishan Kaul and M M Sundresh said that it is not enough for the agency just to lodge a case and conduct probe and but also to ensure that prosecution is successfully done. The SC is examining the efficiency of prosecuting wing of the CBI as it had earlier noted that there was “a saga of gross negligence in performing duties” resulting in inordinate delay in filing of cases in courts and had sought response from its director.
As additional solicitor general Sanjay Jain, appearing for the agency, contended that in an adversarial litigation system like India, success rate in litigation should be considered just one of the factors in determining efficiency, the bench said that the same yardstick is followed across the world and there was no reason that it should not be applied to the CBI.
“We would like to have data regarding cases being handled by the CBI. How many cases the CBI is prosecuting, time period for which the cases are pending in trial courts and what is the success rate of the CBI in trial courts and high courts. We want to see what is the success rate of the agency,” the bench said.
The bench said efficiency of a prosecuting agency is determined on the basis of cases it brings to a logical conclusion and time taken by the agency, and gave the CBI director four weeks’ time to file the data which would be analysed by the court on the next date of hearing.
“World over the assessment is being done on the basis of success rate. If you cannot sustain the prosecution case then what is the need to lodge case and conduct the probe. Success rate is very important and has to be considered,” the bench told the ASG who tried to persuade the court not to go by the success rate. The court also said that there are other ways to settle the dispute like plea bargaining which could be resorted to if the agency was not able to prosecute successfully.
The court initiated the exercise to examine the efficiency of the CBI while hearing CBI’s appeal which was filed after an inordinate delay of 542 days. “The aforesaid prima facie shows clearly gross incompetence in the legal department of the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) which raises serious questions of its efficacy to prosecute the cases.” the bench had said while deciding to examine the issues which are hampering the functioning of the premier investigating agency.
In addition seeking a record of cases under trial,, the bench also directed the CBI director to file affidavit stating the steps taken by him to bolster the functioning of the agency and what system should be put in place to facilitate a proper functioning of prosecution of legal cases.
“What is the way to strengthen the prosecuting wing of the agency. What are the bottlenecks. We would like to know what steps you have taken to strengthen the wing. One of the the bottlenecks is the absence of requisite number of manpower. You have to set your house in order,” the bench said.
The agency, had earlier, tried to justify delay in filing appeal on the ground that its legal department was over-burdened as it was dealing with 95 cases but the bench had refused to accept the explanation.
“Firstly, that number is not extraordinary and secondly, it is for the petitioner (CBI) to take a call as to how many persons are required to manage their affairs. It appears that the file was also lying with the Additional Solicitor General for about two months,” the bench had said.