[Model Answer QP2021 GS2] The jurisdiction of the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) regarding lodging an FIR and conducting probe within a particular state is being questioned by various States. However, the power of States to withhold consent to the CBI is not absolute. Explain with special reference to the federal character of India.

As per the Indian Constitution, ‘Police’ is a State subject, which means that typically law and order and police investigations fall under the purview of the respective State governments. The CBI derives its powers to investigate from the Delhi Special Police Establishment Act, 1946 (DSPE Act).

In the federal structure of India, the CBI cannot take up investigation of a case within a state without the consent of the concerned state government. This is in accordance with the provisions of Section 6 of the DSPE Act. This permission can be accorded as a ‘general consent’ for all such cases or on a ‘case-to-case basis’.

However, as the question suggests, the power of States to withhold consent is not absolute. There are circumstances where CBI can override the requirement of state consent:

1. Orders of Supreme Court and High Courts: If the Supreme Court or a High Court orders a CBI investigation into a case, it can bypass the need for the consent of the state government. This is pursuant to the courts’ powers under Articles 32 and 226 of the Indian Constitution respectively.

2. Union Territories: The CBI has full jurisdiction in Union Territories and can take up investigations without the need for state consent.

3. Cases that have ramifications beyond the state: If a case is of such a nature that it involves a larger national or international implication, or involves a central government department or official, then CBI can step in, especially if directed by the courts.
While the jurisdiction of the CBI is generally respectful of the federal character of India, there are provisions and mechanisms through which the CBI can carry out investigations even without state consent.

These exceptions reflect the need to balance the principles of federalism with the requirements of justice, especially in complex cases that transcend state boundaries or involve larger national interests.

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *