CBI and States

Punjab has become the eighth state now to put curbs on the entry of Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) into the state. It means that the general consent given to the CBI for starting an investigation within the state without prior permission has been revoked.

In view of this decision, CBI will have to seek prior consent of the state government hereinafter on a case to case basis to investigate any offence in the state.

Interestingly, all the eight states putting curbs are ruled by different parties, other than BJP, which is in power at the centre. CBI is a central agency. How can a state deny its entry? Is it not against the federal spirit of the constitution?

As the CBI comes under the Delhi Special Police Establishment Act, 1946, and derives legal powers of investigation from this Act, it requires general or special consent of other states to investigate any case.

But the provision restricts powers of the Centre. Why the CBI, like NIA (National Investigation Agency) should not have unfettered reach to any state? Why should a central institution be made a political issue? It doesn’t bode well for smooth centre-state relations.

I think it is high time for the central government to bring in suitable amendments with proper checks and balances to ensure that a state government should not take advantage of a law to be above the law.

–Kaushal Kishore

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