New Delhi: 

Citing inordinate delay in cases being prosecuted by the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI), the Supreme Court has sought data on the agency’s success rate in court cases and is likely to evaluate its performance.

The query on Friday comes after an appeal was filed in the top court regarding a delay of 542 days by the premier investigation agency in a case.

The Supreme Court has directed the CBI director to place before it the number of cases in which the agency was successful in getting accused convicted in trial, high courts.

It also sought to know the steps being taken by the central agency Director to strengthen the department for legal proceedings.

The top court also enquired how many trials are pending in lower courts and high courts and the time duration for the same.

A two-judge bench of Justices SK Kaul and MM Sundresh observed that it is not enough for the agency to merely register a case and investigate, but also to ensure that the prosecution is carried out successfully.

“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 top court, in an earlier hearing, had observed that there was “a saga of gross negligence in the performance of duties”, resulting in inordinate delay in filing cases in the courts and sought a response from the investigating agency’s Director.

Additional Solicitor General (ASG) Sanjay Jain, appearing for the CBI, 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 SK Kaul-headed 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.

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