From UPSC perspective, the following things are important :
Prelims level : CBI
Mains level : Issues with the CBI
The high-powered selection committee headed by the Prime Minister has finalized some names for the post of CBI director.
Try answering this:
Q.Why the CBI is called “a caged parrot speaking in its master’s voice”? Critically comment.
Central Bureau of Investigation
- The CBI is the premier investigating agency of India operating under the jurisdiction of the Ministry of Personnel, Public Grievances and Pensions.
- It was originally set up to investigate bribery and governmental corruption.
- In 1965 it received expanded jurisdiction to investigate breaches of central laws enforceable by the Government of India, multi-state organized crime, multi-agency or international cases.
- The agency has been known to investigate several economic crimes, special crimes, cases of corruption, and other cases.
- CBI is exempted from the provisions of the Right to Information Act. CBI is India’s officially designated single point of contact for liaison with Interpol.
- The CBI is headed by a Director, an IPS officer with a rank of Director General of Police.
- The director is selected by a high-profile committee constituted under The Delhi Special Police Establishment (DSPE) Act, 1946 as amended through The Lokpal and Lokayuktas Act, 2013, and has a two-year term.
- The Appointment Committee consists of:
- Prime Minister – Chairperson
- Leader of Opposition of Loksabha or the Leader of the single largest opposition party in the Lok Sabha, if the former is not present due to lack of mandated strength in the Lok Sabha – member
- Chief Justice of India or a Supreme Court Judge recommended by the Chief Justice – member
Jurisdiction, powers and restrictions
- The legal powers of investigation of the CBI are derived from the DSPE Act 1946, which confers powers, duties, privileges and liabilities on the Delhi Special Police Establishment (CBI) and officers of the UTs.
- The central government may extend to any area (except UTs) the powers and jurisdiction of the CBI for investigation, subject to the consent of the government of the concerned state.
- Members of the CBI at or above the rank of sub-inspector may be considered officers in charge of police stations.
- Under the DSPE Act, the CBI can investigate only with notification by the central government.
Relationship with state police
- The CBI was originally constituted under the DSPE Act, to operate within the territory of Delhi.
- As policing and law is a subject that falls within state powers under the structure of Indian federalism, the CBI needs prior consent from other state governments in order to conduct investigations within their territory.
- This consent can be in the form of a ‘general consent’ under Section 6 of the DSPE Act, which remains in operation for all investigations.
- Once consent is granted, the CBI can investigate economic, corruption, and special crimes (including national security, drugs and narcotics, etc.)
- Most Indian states had granted general consent to the CBI to investigate crimes within their territory.
- However, as of 2020, several states have withdrawn their ‘general consent’ for the CBI to operate, and require special consent to be granted on a case-to-case basis.
Issues with CBI
- In 2013, Judge of the Supreme Court of India (and later CJI) R. M. Lodha criticized the CBI for being a “caged parrot speaking in its master’s voice”.
- This was due to its excessive political interference irrespective of which party happened to be in power.