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If Adequate Opportunity Was Not Given to Alok Verma, It is a Violation of Principles of Natural Justice: Former CJI TS Thakur on Verma’s Transfer From CBI

The former CJI underlined that Modi-led panel should have given an opportunity to Verma to present his version.

Former Chief Justice of India TS Thakur slammed the Narendra Modi government for shunting out Alok Verma from the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) without giving him “adequate opportunity to present his point of view”. The former CJI said that it would amount to a “violation of the principles of natural justice”.

Speaking to The Telegraph, Justice Thakur said, “It is only after you have given him an opportunity, they (the high-powered committee) could have taken a view. They could have gone into the whole thing. It is only then a judgment could be passed. If that process has not been followed — I am not fully aware if the process has not been followed and Verma has not been given an opportunity to respond to the findings recorded by the CVC — then any decision based on such adverse findings will be contrary to the principles of natural justice.”

Further, the former Chief Justice said, “We will assume the Central Vigilance Commissioner (CVC) conducted an inquiry under the supervision of Justice AK Patnaik. The CVC may have even given him an opportunity to say whatever he wants to say. We will assume he was given an opportunity. The CVC makes a report that is adverse to Verma. It is a report which is adverse to Verma, after which an opportunity has been given to him.”

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Justice Thakur underlined that the report still remains an “inquiry report”. He explained that Verma was given a full opportunity by the CVC and the commission still made a report which is adverse, that means Verma’s version was rejected by the CVC. “Now, it is a finding which is adverse to Verma. Such an adverse finding is presented to the Supreme Court. The Supreme Court does not say anything about the correctness of the findings of the report. They didn’t say anything about it. The matter is sent to the high-powered committee,” he said.

The former CJI emphasised on the fact that “if one is taking a decision based on a report which is adverse to an individual, then one must share that report with that individual,” adding that one cannot act upon the report which is adverse without disclosing the report to the person and without giving him an opportunity to provide him with representation or without providing an opportunity to present his point of view.

On January 10, a selection committee comprising of Prime Minister Narendra Modi, Justice AK Sikri and Congress leader Mallikarjun Kharge had removed Verma from the CBI in a two-to-one decision. The Modi-led committee hurriedly transferred Verma in less than 60 hours after the Supreme Court reinstated him as the CBI director.

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