What is ‘General Consent’ for the CBI, Now withdrawn by Meghalaya? (CBI Consent Meghalaya Withdrawn It) Meghalaya has withdrawn consent to the CBI to investigate cases in the state, becoming the ninth state in the country to have taken this step. What does the withdrawal of general consent mean? Which other states have done so? So let us see CBI Consent Meghalaya Withdrawn It.
•Meghalaya has withdrawn consent to the CBI to investigate cases in the state, becoming the ninth state in the country to have taken this step. Meghalaya is ruled by Conrad Sangma’s National People’s Party ( NPP ) which is part of the BJP – led National Democratic Alliance.
• In November last year, the Supreme Court had expressed concern over a submission by the CBI that since 2018, around 150 requests for sanction to investigate had been pending with the eight state governments who had withdrawn general consent until then.
What is general consent? (CBI Consent Meghalaya Withdrawn It)
The CBI is governed by The Delhi Special Police Establishment (DSPE) Act, 1946, and it must mandatorily obtain the consent of the state government concerned before beginning to investigate a crime in a state.
Section 6 of the DSPE Act ( ” Consent of State Government to exercise of powers and jurisdiction ” ) says: ” Nothing contained in section 5 ( titled ” Extension of powers and jurisdiction of special police establishment to other areas ” ) shall be deemed to enable any member of the Delhi Special Police Establishment to exercise powers and jurisdiction in any area in a State, not being a Union territory or railway area, without the consent of the Government of that State.”
The CBI’s position is in this respect different from that of the National Investigation Agency (NIA), which is governed by the NIA Act, 2008, and has jurisdiction across the country. The consent of the state government to CBI can be either case-specific or general.
•General consent is normally given by states to help the CBI in the seamless investigation of cases of corruption against central government employees in their states.
• This is consent by default, in the absence of which the CBI would have to apply to the state government in every case, and before taking even small actions.
Which states have withdrawn consent, and why? Like CBI Consent Meghalaya Withdrawn It
• Traditionally, almost all states have given CBI general consent. However, from 2015 onward, several states have begun to act differently. Before Meghalaya’s action, eight other states had withdrawn consent to the CBI: Maharashtra, Punjab, Rajasthan, West Bengal, Jharkhand, Chhattisgarh, Kerala, and Mizoram. All these states except Mizoram and Meghalaya are ruled by the anti – BJP opposition.
The first state to withdraw consent was Mizoram ( in 2015 ) The state was ruled by Congress at the time, and Lal Thanhawla was Chief Minister. In 2018, the Mizo National Front (MNF) under Zoramthanga came to power; however, even though the MNF is an NDA ally, consent to the CBI was not restored.
In November 2018, the West Bengal government led by Mamata Banerjee withdrew the general consent that had been accorded to the CBI by the previous Left Front government back in 1989. West Bengal announced its decision within hours of Andhra Pradesh, then ruled by N Chandrababu Naidu’s TDP, taking a similar decision.
The Congress government of Chief Minister Bhupesh Baghel in Chhattisgarh withdrew consent in January 2019. Punjab, Maharashtra, Rajasthan, Kerala, and Jharkhand followed in 2020. At the time of withdrawing consent, all states alleged that the central government was using the CBI to unfairly target the opposition.
What does the withdrawal of general consent mean?
It means the CBI will not be able to register any fresh case involving officials of the central government or a private person in the state without the consent of the state government.
Calcutta High Court recently ruled in a case of illegal coal mining and cattle smuggling being investigated by the CBI, that the central agency cannot be stopped from probing an employee of the central government in another state. The order has been challenged in the Supreme Court.
In Vinay Mishra vs the CBI, the Calcutta HC ruled in July this year that corruption cases must be treated equally across the country, and a central government employee could not be “distinguished” just because his office was located in a state that had withdrawn general consent.
The HC also said that withdrawal of consent would apply in cases where employees exclusively of the state government were involved. The petition had challenged the validity of FIRs registered by the CBI’s Kolkata branch after the withdrawal of consent.,
So where does the CBI currently stand in these states?
•The agency can use the Calcutta HC order to its advantage until it is – if it is – struck down by the SC.
•Even otherwise, the withdrawal of consent did not make the CBI defunct in a state – it retained the power to investigate cases that had been registered before consent was withdrawn.
•Also, a case registered anywhere else in the country, which involved individuals stationed in these states, allowed the CBI’s jurisdiction to extend to these states.
There is ambiguity on whether the CBI can carry out a search in connection with an old case without the consent of the state government. But the agency has the option to get a warrant from a local court in the state and conduct the search.
In case the search requires an element of surprise, Section 166 of the Criminal Procedure Code ( CrPC ) can be used, which allows a police officer of one jurisdiction to ask an officer of another to carry out a search on their behalf. And should the first officer feel that a search carried out by the latter may lead to loss of evidence, the section allows the first officer to conduct the search himself after giving notice to the latter.
Finally, consent does not apply in cases where someone has been caught red-handed taking a bribe.
Have states started denying consent only after the present government came to power in Delhi?
No. States, including Sikkim, Nagaland, Chhattisgarh, and Karnataka, have done this throughout the history of the agency. In 1998, the Janata Dal government of Chief Minister J H Patel withdrew general consent to the CBI in Karnataka. The Congress government of S M Krishna, which took over in 1999, did not revoke the previous government’s order.”
Consent wasn’t renewed for eight long years. The CBI had to virtually close down its office ( in Karnataka ), ” said an officer who was with the agency at the time. The CBI had to seek the permission of the state government for every case and every search it conducted on central government employees,
Political allegations aside, to what extent is the CBI ‘ its master’s voice ‘?
After the 2018 amendments to the Prevention of Corruption Act, 1988, the Center has come to exercise power over the CBI not just administratively, but also legally. In 2018, the government pushed through Parliament amendments to Section 17A of the Prevention and Corruption Act making it mandatory for the CBI to seek the Centre’s permission before registering a case of corruption against any government servant.
Earlier, the Center had mandated that such permission was required only for officials of the level of joint secretary and higher. The amendments were brought after the Supreme Court struck down the government’s directive.
WHAT IS CBI?
• Central Bureau of Investigation
• Central Government and headquartered in Delhi
• Special Police Establishment (SPE ) which was set up in 1941 by the Government of India
• functions of the SPE then were to investigate cases of bribery and corruption in transactions with the War & Supply Deptt. Of India during World War II
•Vested under war department.
HISTORY OF CBI
• need for a Central Government agency to investigate cases of bribery and corruption by Central Government employees was felt.
• Delhi Special Police Establishment Act was therefore brought into force in 1946
• SPE was transferred to the Home Department
• functions were enlarged to cover all departments of the Govt. of India.
CBI is emergence as India’s premier investigative agency and it investigates the matter registered against a public servant and also investigates matters related to corruption related to public servants.
CBI’s work / or which cases are seen by or handled by CBI.
•Cases in which public servants under the control of the Central Government are involved either by themselves or along with State Government servants and/or other persons.
•Cases in which the interests of the Central Government, or of any public sector project or undertaking, or any statutory corporation or body set up and financed by the Government of India are involved.
•Cases relating to breaches of Central Laws with the enforcement of which the Government of India is particularly concerned, e.g.
a. Breaches of Import and Export Control Orders
b. Serious breaches of Foreign Exchange Regulation Act,
c. Passport frauds
d. Cases under the Official Secrets Act pertaining to the affairs of the Central Government.
e. Cases of certain specified categories under the Defense of India Act or Rules with which the Central Government is particularly concerned
•Serious cases of cheating or fraud relating to the Railways, or Posts & Telegraphs Department, particularly those involving professional criminals operating in several States.
a. Crime on the High Seas
b. Crime on the Airlines.
•Important and serious cases in Union Territories particularly those by professional criminals
•Serious cases of fraud, cheating, and embezzlement relating to PublicJoint Stock Companies
•Other cases of a serious nature, when committed by organized gangs or professional criminals, of cases having ramifications in several States including Union Territories serious cases of spurious drugs, important cases of kidnapping of children by professional interstate gangs, etc. These cases will be ablen up only at the request of or with the concurrence of the State Governments Union Territories Administrations concerned.
•Collection of intelligence about corruption in the public services and the projects and undertakings in the public sector
•Prosecution of cases investigated by this Division.
•Presentation of cases before Enquiry Office in which departmental proceedings are instituted on the recommendation of the Division.
CBI HAS THE FOLLOWING DIVISIONS
Anti Corruption Division
Economic Offenses Division
Special Crimes Division
Directorate of Prosecution
Policy & Coordination Division
Central Forensic Science Laboratory.
• Director, CBI as Inspector General of Police, Delhi Special Police Establishment, is responsible for the administration of the organization.
• With the enactment of the CVC Act, 2003 the Superintendence of Delhi Special Police Establishment vests with the Central Government saves investigations of offenses under the Prevention of Corruption Act, 1988, in which, the superintendence vests with the Central Vigilance Commission.
• Director, CBI has been provided security of two-year tenure in CBI by the CVC Act, 2003.
• The CVC Act also provides a mechanism for the selection of Director, CBI, and other officers of the rank of SP and above in CBI.
The Central Government shall appoint the Director of CBI on the recommendation of a three-member committee consisting of the Prime Minister as Chairperson, the Leader of Opposition in the Lok Sabha, and the Chief Justice of India or Judge of the Supreme Court ( SC ) nominated by him.
This is all about the CBI Consent Meghalaya Withdrawn It.