Central Bureau of Investigation- CBI (GS Paper-II, Indian Polity & Constitution) Source: Indian Express

Why in news?

Eight States have  recently withdrawn consent to CBI namely, Maharashtra, Punjab ,Rajasthan ,West Bengal ,Jharkhand, Chhattisgarh, Kerala and Mizoram.

What does the withdrawal of general consent mean?

It implies that CBI will no longer  be able to register any fresh case involving officials of the Central Government or a private person in the state without the consent of that state government.

Types of consent:

  1. Case specific- CBI can investigate a case involving a State Government employee or a crime in state only after the concerned state  gives its consent.

  2. General consent- It is generally given to the CBI to seamlessly conduct its investigation into the case of corruption against Central Government employees in the concerned state.

Recent verdict:

In a recent verdict of illegal coal mining and cattle smuggling being investigated by the CBI, Calcutta High Court  ruled that the central agency cannot be stopped from probing an employee of the central government in another state. 

About CBI?

  • It is the main investigating agency of the central government. It plays an important role in the prevention of corruption and maintaining integrity in administration.

  • It also provides assistance to the Central Vigilance Commission.

  • CBI was established on the recommendations of Santhanam Committee on Prevention of Corruption(1962-1964).

  • It is not a statutory body and functions under the Ministry of Personnel Pension and Public Grievances.

Source of power:

  • CBI derives its power from Delhi Special Police Establishment Act 1946.

Functions of CBI:

  • Investigating cases of corruption, bribery and misconduct of the central government employee.

  • Investigates cases related to the infringement of the fiscal and economic law.

  • Investigates serious crime having National  and International ramification committed by the organised Gangs Of Professional criminals.

  • Coordinating the activities of the Anti Corruption Agencies and various state police force.

  • Taking up on the request of the state government any case of public importance of Investigation.

  • The agency maintains crime statistics and disseminates criminal information.

  • The CBI also acts as the ‘National Central Bureau of Interpol’ in India.

Different types of cases handled by CBI:

  1. Special crime- investigate serious crimes under Indian penal code and other laws on the request of the State government or on the order of the Supreme Court and High Court.

  2. Economic crimes- investigates major financial scams and serious economic fraud, for example cybercrime, fake currency notes ,smuggling etc.

  3. Anti corruption crimes- it deals  with the corruption cases under the Prevention of Corruption Act against the public officials and employees of the central government.

  4. Suo Moto case- it can take up the case itself only in Union Territories.

Concerns associated with CBI:

  • The agency depends upon the Home Ministry for staffing since many of its investigators come from Indian Police Services.

  • CBI run by IPS officers on deputation makes it susceptible to the government’s ability to manipulate the  officials.

  • The agency also depends upon the Law Ministry for lawyers and lacks functional autonomy to some extent.

  • Excessive political interference, it has often been used by the government to keep political opponents at bay. This is why the Supreme Court called CBI a caged parrot.

  • Lack of accountability as it is excluded from RTI provisions.

  • Provision of consent of states limits the power and the extent of Investigation by CBI.

  • CBI has been accused of becoming handmaiden to the party in power as a result high-profile cases are not treated seriously.

Way forward:

  • Providing statutory status to the CBI would help maintain the independence of the Institution.

  • Another way to ensure autonomy would be to delink the agency from the administrative control of the government.

  • According to the Second Administrative Reform Commission 2007 new laws should be enacted to govern the working of CBI.

  • The government must also ensure financial autonomy.

  • The CBI Act should be formulated to ensure the autonomy of CBI while at the same time improving the quality of supervision.

Name- Vivek Raj Yadav

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