The Supreme Court in the ‘CBI Vs States’ case said that the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) cannot carry out any probe without the consent of state governments. Centre also cannot extend the agency’s jurisdiction to any state without permission, the Court observed.
The ruling comes at a time when eight non-BJP states – Rajasthan, Bengal, Jharkhand, Kerala, Maharashtra, Chhattisgarh, Punjab and Mizoram have canceled consent for CBI probes in their states.
A bench of justices AM Khanwilkar and BR Gavai said, “Though Section 5 enables the Central Government to extend the powers and jurisdiction of Members of the DSPE (CBI) beyond the Union Territories to a state, the same is not permissible unless a state grants its consent for such an extension within the area of the state concerned under Section 6 of the DSPE Act. Obviously, the provisions are in tune with the federal character of the constitution, which has been held to be one of the basic structures of the Constitution.”
Under Section 6 of the Act, all states except Delhi and the Union Territories have the discretion to give their consent to the CBI for a probe in the state.
Many states have also alleged that Centre is using CBI to unfairly target opposition parties. However, the Centre had argued that there is no sovereignty for any state in the matter of corruption.
The matter came to the fore after a surprise raid by the CBI in the factory premises of Fertico company. The central agency found that the coal bought under the fuel supply agreement was allegedly sold in the black market.