State government’s consent mandatory for CBI investigation, SC rules

New Delhi: The Supreme Court Of India in its latest hearing stated that the state government’s consent is mandatory for a CBI investigation in its jurisdiction and the agency cannot conduct probe without its nod.

This means, the CBI cannot step into an investigation without the consent of state governments.

“As per law, state consent is a must and the Centre cannot extend CBI jurisdiction without the state’s consent. The law is in tune with the federal structure of the constitution,” the Supreme Court ruled on Wednesday.

“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 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,” said the top court.

The ruling becomes significant with eight opposition-ruled states – Rajasthan, Bengal, Jharkhand, Kerala, Maharashtra, Chhattisgarh, Punjab and Mizoram — cancelling blanket consent for CBI probes in their states.

Confirming the High Court order, the Supreme Court yesterday said, “In the result, we find no reason to interfere with the finding of the High Court with regard to not obtaining prior consent of the state government.”

The high court had noted that the Uttar Pradesh government had granted post-facto consent against the two public servants who were later named in the charge sheet and that it was sufficient for proceeding with the case.

The top court rejected the appeal of the accused and said the state of UP had accorded a general consent for an extension of powers and jurisdiction of the members of DSPE in 1989 in the whole of the state under the Prevention of Corruption Act.