2021 GS2 Answer

Q. 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.

Question from UPSC Mains 2021 GS2 Paper

Model Answer: 

CBI and Federalism:

The CBI is India’s premier central investigation agency which looks into matters of corruption or major criminal matter. The CBI draws its power from the DSPE Act, 1946 which deals with the extension of the power of CBI over states with the consent of the respective government.

The Police are under List II, i.e., it is exclusively a state subject. So only the state can make law regarding the same. However, the establishment of CBI under the DPSE act as police encroaches upon state jurisdiction.

Although, CBI is required to have “general consent” from the state government before beginning an investigation in the state. But these consents only lead to Red-tapism thereby delaying justice delivery.

The jurisdiction of CBI often comes into direct confrontation with state police which causes federal issues recurrently.

However, a weak central authority could be injurious to national unity. Thus, it is imperative to have some agencies that have jurisdiction over the entire country.

The confrontation between state and center over CBI is often more prominent when there exist different political parties at the state and center level.

The absence of a neutral body to manage or diffuse the confrontation between state and center further aggravates the issue.

The Supreme court and the high court can order CBI to investigate any crime anywhere in the country without the consent of the state.

Moreover, under article 131, states can drag center in case if they feel CBI violates their right. Thus, further complicating the confrontation.

A strong central investigation is imperative for the National unity and integrity of the country. So, there is a need to promote transparency in the working of CBI which can be ensured by making it a constitutional body.

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