AP, WB withdraw consent for CBI probe: Impact and what the law states
New Delhi, Nov 17: The Central Bureau of Investigation which has been stung by an internal war found itself in the news once again. This time it was after both the Andhra Pradesh and West Bengal governments withdrew general consent for CBI probes in the respective states.
Chandrababu Naidu and Mamata Banerjee, Chief Ministers of AP and West Bengal respectively, who are trying to erect an anti-BJP front withdrew the general consent extended to the CBI. The question is how legally tenable are these decisions taken by the respective governments.
Under the Delhi Special Police Establishment Act of 1946, it is mandatory that the agency seeks the consent of the state before probing cases. The law states that law and order is the responsibility of the states and the CBI being a central agency, its powers are limited to Union Territories. It cannot probe offences committed in states without seeking consent.
It is only the Supreme Court and High Court that direct the CBI to probe a crime in a particular state even if the state does not give its consent. In case of a general consent not being granted, the CBI can approach either the Supreme Court or the respective High Court of the state and seek permission to probe an offence.
The other question is will the withdrawal of general consent affect the ongoing probes in the state. The law clearly states that the ongoing probes will not be affected. It would also not come in the way of filing chargesheets or trials that are pending.
It may be recalled that Sikkim had withdrawn the consent to the CBI under Section 6 of the Delhi Special Police Establishment Act.
What Section 6 of the Act states:
Consent of State Government to exercise of powers and jurisdiction.-Nothing contained in section 5 shall be deemed to enable any member of the Delhi Special Police Establishment to exercise powers and jurisdiction in any area in 2[a State, not being a Union territory or railway area], without the consent of the Government of that State.
What else has AP done:
In addition to withdrawing general consent, the government of AP has withdrew consent with regard to the implementation of 63 central Acts and 188 different sections of the Indian Penal Code.
This was considered to be a drastic move and could hamper probes and action by the central agencies into cases of smuggling, hijacking, theft of art treasures and antiques and those cases covered under the central laws which deal with arms, benumb transactions, explosives, passports, narcotics, money laundering and explosives among others.