The Supreme Court on Monday asked IPS officer Archana Ramasundaram to come clear on whether she still wants to remain in the fray for her posting as additional director in the CBI or not.
Maintaining that the court would not entertain the matter for purely academic interests, a bench led by Chief Justice of India R M Lodha asked Ramasundaram to decide once and for all if she still wanted the job.
“Officer of her cadre must be very clear on what she wants. We don’t want to decide academic issues. If no party before us is interested in the job, the whole PIL goes,” said the bench as Ramasundaram’s counsel informed that she has now been empanelled by the Centre for being a Director General of Police (DGP).
“If you are not keen on this job anymore, the entire issue goes. If you want to be a DGP, go ahead. The PIL before us has raised questions of your appointment as additional director. We are not concerned with anything else but the legality of your appointment,” said the bench.
Meanwhile, R K Pachnanda, the IPS officer who Ramasundaram had superseded in the appointment, told the court that he was “very much interested” in the job and that he would abide by any orders passed by the court.
Ramasundaram’s appointment courted controversy when a day after she joined as the first additional director in the CBI, the Tamil Nadu government, her parent cadre, suspended her for allegedly failing to obtain consent.
The court had on May 9 restrained her from functioning in the CBI till the legality of her appointment, questioned in a PIL by journalist Vineet Narain, was decided.
Subsequently, affidavits in the court disclosed that the Appointments Committee of the Cabinet (ACC), headed by the then prime minister Manmohan Singh, had overruled Ministry of Home Affairs’ opinion to appoint Pachnanda and chose Ramasundaram instead. The ACC got a favourable opinion from the then Solicitor General to select her despite not being recommended by the CVC select committee.
CBI director Ranjit Sinha had also raised objections against Pachnanda and has told the court in his affidavit that he stood by the government’s discretion in appointing Ramasundaram since Pachnanda had adverse reports against him, whereas she was the “most suitable” for the post.
Meanwhile, the court gave the Centre two weeks to file a response to the Tamil Nadu government’s claim that Ramasundaram was appointed in the CBI without a relieving letter by the state and hence the posting was bad in law.