The top court ruled: “As per law, state consent is a must and the Centre cannot extend CBI jurisdiction without the state’s consent.”
In a petition by officials accused in a corruption case in Uttar Pradesh, the apex court has ruled that the CBI cannot step into an investigation without the consent of state governments and the centre cannot extend the agency’s jurisdiction to any state without permission either.
On Wednesday, the top court ruled: “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.”
This comes at a significant time since 8 opposition ruled states- Rajasthan, Bengal, Jharkhand, Kerala, Maharashtra, Chhattisgarh, Punjab and Mizoram — have withdrawn their consent given to the CBI.
Referring to the Delhi Special Police Establishment (DSPE) Act that regulates the CBI or Central Bureau of Investigation, Supreme Court judges AM Khanwilkar and BR Gavai gave the ruling.
“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,” the supreme court said.
Alleging that the BJP-led government at the centre is misusing the agency to harass political opponents, several opposition-ruled states have withdrawn general consent to the CBI to investigate cases.
The move means the CBI cannot carry out investigations in these states without seeking permission every time.