New Delhi: The Supreme Court has held that the Central Bureau of Investigation does not require consent of the concerned state government to register a case of corruption and other offences against any private individual, as the consent is required only if the investigation relates to public servants.
The ruling by a 2-judge Bench of Justices A. M. Khanwilkar and Bhushan Ramkrishna Gavai in an Uttar Pradesh case will have a significant impact on Maharashtra and half a dozen non-BJP ruled states that have withdrawn their general consent to the CBI. This is because as per the court ruling the state governments cannot prevent the agency from registering cases against private citizens.
The 22-page judgment penned by Justice Gavai also approves post-facto consent by the state government, holding that it would not vitiate the probe, provided no prejudice is caused to the accused due to the lack of the prior consent.
However, since there were no pleadings by two public servants made accused in the UP case on any prejudice caused to them on account of non-obtaining the prior consent under Section 6 of the DSPE Act, the court declined to interfere with the CBI probe.
The CBI enjoys powers to probe in any part of the country under the Delhi Special Police Establishment Act (DSPE Act) of 1946.
Rejecting the appeals by the private individuals as having "absolutely no merits," the Apex Court held that the CBI had "all the powers and jurisdiction" over registration of FIR against the private individuals for the offences punishable under the Prevention of Corruption Act and other offences. It noted that the FIR had not named any public servant of the state government.