CBI vs Bengal: Why Mamata’s action is not legally tenable
New Delhi, Feb 04: There has been plenty of drama in Kolkata, following a move by the Central Bureau of Investigation to question the city's police commissioner in connection with the chit fund cases.
The big question of law is whether the CBI can go ahead with the questioning in the wake of West Bengal withdrawing general consent for its probes. The CBI on the other hand is relying on the verdict of the Supreme Court dated May 9 2014. In the Subrata Chattoraj vs Union of India case, the court had transferred the probe into the scam to the CBI.
Legal experts say that the move by the Bengal government will not hold water before a court of law. The general consent was withdrawn last year and hence such action would be applicable only prospectively. There would be no retrospect effect as it would not apply to those cases pending. The law is clear and that such action would be applicable only to fresh cases.
In 1994, the Supreme Court in the Lhendup Dorji vs CBI case had said that the withdrawal of general consent would not be applicable to an ongoing case. Such action would be applicable to stall a pending case, the court had also said.
"The case should be allowed to reach its logical conclusion, notwithstanding the withdrawal of consent during the pendency of investigation," the court had held in its 1994 verdict.
In a nutshell it would mean that when the general consent is withdrawn, the CBI loses its power under the Code of Criminal Procedure to register a case. The CBI cannot register a fresh case, but nothing prevents it from probing an ongoing case, the law states.