Police Reforms – SC directives, NPC, other committees reports

What is ‘general consent’ for CBI?


From UPSC perspective, the following things are important :

Prelims level: CBI general consent

Mains level: Issues with working of CBI

The Maharashtra CM has restored general consent to the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) to investigate cases in Maharashtra.

General Consent to CBI

  • The CBI is governed by the Delhi Special Police Establishment Act.
  • This makes consent of a state government mandatory for conducting an investigation in that state.
  • Generally, the CBI has jurisdiction only over central government departments and employees.
  • However, it can investigate a case involving state government employees or a violent crime in a given state only after that state government gives its consent.

When is Consent needed?

  • There are two kinds of consent: case-specific and general.
  • General consent is normally given to help the CBI seamlessly conduct its investigation into cases of corruption against central government employees in the concerned state.
  • Almost all states have given such consent.
  • Otherwise, the CBI would require consent in every case.
  • For example, if it wanted to investigate a bribery charge against a Western Railway clerk in Mumbai, it would have to apply for consent with the Maharashtra government before registering a case against him.

Withdrawing General Consent  

  • It means the CBI will not be able to register any fresh case involving a central government official or a private person stationed in these two states without getting case-specific consent.
  • Withdrawal of consent simply means that CBI officers will lose all powers of a police officer as soon as they enter the state unless the state government has allowed them.

Under what provisions general consent can be withdrawn?

  • Section 6 of the Act says nothing contained in Section 5 shall be deemed to enable any member of the Delhi Special Police Establishment to exercise powers and jurisdiction in any area in a State, not being a Union Territory or Railway, area, without the consent of the Government of that State.
  • In exercise of the power conferred by Section 6 of the Delhi Special Police Establishment Act, 1946, the government can withdraw the general consent to exercise the powers and jurisdiction.

Back2Basics: Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI)

  • Origins of CBI can be traced back to the Special Police Establishment (SPE) set up in 1941 in order to cases of bribery and corruption in War & Supply Department of India during World War II.
  • The need of a Central Government agency to investigate cases of bribery and corruption was felt even after the end of World War II.
  • So, DSPE (Delhi Special Police Establishment) Act, 1946 was brought that gave legal power of investigating cases to CBI.
  • CBI is not a statutory body as it is not established by an Act of the Parliament.
  • CBI investigates cases related to economic crimes, special crimes, cases of corruption and other high-profile cases.
  • CBI comes under the jurisdiction of the Ministry of Personnel, Public Grievances and Pensions.
  • CBI is exempted from Right to Information (RTI) Act similar to the National Investigating Agency (NIA), National Intelligence Grid (NATGRID), etc.


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