New Delhi: "Extraordinary situations sometimes need extraordinary remedies", Solicitor General (SG) Tushar Mehta on Thursday told the Supreme Court while confronting questions in the Apex Court over Centre's sudden order to send Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) Director Alok Verma on leave.
Mehta, who is representing the Central Vigilance Commission (CVC) in the case, made the argument while backing the commission's decision. The Supreme Court was hearing a petition filed by Verma against the central government's order to send him on leave in view of the corruption allegations levelled against him.
The Solicitor General's remark came after the Chief Justice of India (CJI) Ranjan Gogoi questioned Mehta and asked why didn't the CVC consult the selection committee before making a decision in haste.
"Government has to be fair, what was the difficulty in consulting the selection committee before divesting Alok Verma of his power? The essence of every government action should be to adopt the best course," CJI Ranjan Gogoi questioned Mehta.
The CJI also raised question over the timing of the order and said, "Fight between the two senior most CBI officers did not emerge overnight, so why did the government take immediate steps to divest the CBI Director Alok Verma of his powers without consulting the Selection Committee?'
In response, Mehta implied that the CVC took cognizance of the emergent situation owing to which they made an interim arrangement.
Further pressing on the exceptional nature of the situation, Mehta said: "Extraordinary situation arose, CVC order was passed impartially. Two senior most officers were fighting and investigating cases against each other, instead of probing serious cases. CVC's inaction would have been a dereliction of duty."
The hearing of this case is still ongoing at the apex court.
During Wednesday's hearing of the case, Attorney General KK Venugopal, who was defending the Centre's decision in the Supreme Court over sending Verma on leave, had said that the dispute between the CBI Director and Special Director Rakesh Asthana was tarnishing the reputation of the institution. He added that both the top officials of the investigating agency were "fighting like cats".
In the same hearing, Solicitor General Mehta appearing for the CVC had told the top court that the commission is responsible for the efficient functioning of the CBI, adding that the investigative agency should report to the CVC.
The central government had recently sent Verma and his deputy Asthana on leave after both levelled allegations of accepting bribes against each other. However, the CBI on October 25 informed that Verma and Asthana would continue to retain their posts as CBI Director and Special Director, respectively.