Supreme Court Questions Centre’s Control Over CBI in State Investigations

Supreme Court Questions Centre’s Control Over CBI in State Investigations

The Supreme Court said no to the Centre’s claim that it doesn’t control the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI). They asked, “Who else can send the CBI to States for investigations?”

Justice Sandeep Mehta, part of the two-judge Bench led by Justice B.R. Gavai, asked Solicitor General Tushar Mehta, who was representing the Centre, this question. Eventually, Mr. Mehta agreed that it’s the Central government’s job.

The court listened to a case filed by West Bengal under Article 131 of the Constitution. They accused the Union government of meddling in cases that belong to the State by letting the CBI investigate them.

West Bengal said even though they said no to CBI investigations in their state in 2018, the Centre still sends the CBI to do investigations. The CBI has done more than 15 cases in West Bengal.

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The Solicitor General argued that the case shouldn’t be considered, and West Bengal shouldn’t have made the Union the defendant. He said the Centre doesn’t control where and how the CBI works.

Questioning this, Justice Mehta pointed out Section 5(1) of the DSPE Act, which gives the Central government power over the CBI’s jurisdiction.

He asked, “If what you’re saying is true, why does Section 5(1) give the Central government power over the CBI?”

The Solicitor General didn’t have a direct answer, saying someone has to have that power. When asked who, he mentioned the CBI Director or maybe a department of the Central government.

The court reserved its decision on whether West Bengal’s case is valid.

On May 2, the court reminded the Centre that law and order is a State matter.

Kapil Sibal, representing West Bengal, said the Centre wants to use the CBI and other agencies for their benefit.

Another Supreme Court Bench is dealing with a similar case involving Tamil Nadu. An ED officer is being prosecuted for bribery by the Tamil Nadu Directorate of Vigilance and Anti-Corruption, and the ED wants the case transferred to them.

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