The jurisdiction of the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) regarding lodging an FIR and conducting probe within a particular State is being questioned by various States. However, the power of the States to withhold consent to the CBI is not absolute. Explain with special reference to the federal character of India.

Sample Answer

Introduction

Delhi Special Police Establishment Act (DSPE) 1946 empowers CBI to investigate matters of corruption in all the Union Territories. However, section 6 of the Act prohibits CBI to conduct investigation in any state without their general consent.

Body

Rights of CBI to conduct Investigation 

  • Section 6 of DSPE is based on Entry 80 of the Union List which allows extension of powers and jurisdiction of police force of one State in another State but not without the consent of other state.
  • However, Withdrawal of Consent by State Government is Not Absolute as:
    • It does not affect pending investigation.
    • CBI can investigate cases registered in another state in relation to continuing investigation.
    • Constitutional Courts can allow CBI investigation despite state’s withdrawal.

Constrained Functioning

  • Despite these advantages, withdrawal of consent by states limits the functioning of CBI in conducting investigation.
  • Due to functional constraints in matters of investigation on corruption against central government employees, CBI has filed a petition in the Supreme Court against withdrawal of consent by states.

Federal Issues

  • CBI is not empowered under DSPE to investigate matters pertaining to federal crimes and hence cannot initiate fresh investigations in state without state’s consent.
  • States have withdrawn consent to safeguard their federal rights against unscrupulous interference by the central government through CBI and other agencies.
  • Supreme Court in S.R. Bommai had stated that the States are not mere appendages of the Union and described federalism as a concept which unites separate States into a Union without sacrificing State’s own fundamental political integrity.

Conclusion

Thus, despite the powers given to CBI to conduct investigation in states, their consent is mandatory to ensure balance of federal relations between center and states as CBI Is neither federal police nor has powers under Entry 2 of State List.

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