CBI Cannot Investigate Cases In States Without Their Consent: Supreme Court

Supreme Court of India
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New Delhi, November 19, 2020: The Supreme Court has said that the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) must compulsorily obtain consent from the concerned state before an investigation in a case. The court said during the hearing in the case that as per law, the consent of the state is necessary and the Center cannot extend the jurisdiction of the CBI without the consent of the state. These provisions conform to the federal character of the Constitution. The court delivered the verdict on the plea of ​​officials accused in a corruption case in Uttar Pradesh.

This court order is important for eight opposition-ruled states – Rajasthan, West Bengal, Jharkhand, Kerala, Maharashtra, Chhattisgarh, Punjab and Mizoram. These states have withdrawn the general consent given to the CBI to investigate cases there. A bench of Justices AM Khanwilkar and BR Gavai referred to the Delhi Special Police Establishment (DSPE) Act which governs the CBI and ruled that consent of the state government is necessary.

According to the Constitution, law and order is a state subject in the sharing of powers between the centre and the state. Therefore, the first right of investigation also rests with the state police. But in order to be a central agency, if the CBI has to investigate the matter, then it is necessary to get the consent of the state government. Consent is also of two types. First, case-specific and second general. Although the CBI has jurisdiction over central government departments and employees, however, to investigate any matter related to the state government, it has to take the approval of the state government.