Police Reforms – SC directives, NPC, other committees reports

[op-ed snap] A law for the CBI


Mains Paper 2: Governance | Important aspects of governance, transparency and accountability

From UPSC perspective, the following things are important:

Prelims level: Nothing much

Mains level: The newscard comprehensively explains instances of the weakening of CBI and why there is a need of making a law.



The CBI, legally known as Delhi Special Police Establishment, has been in  controversies lately. It can not function in a state unless the matter is referred to it by a high court or the Supreme Court or by the consent of the state government concerned.

Need to make a law for CBI

  • There was always a demand for an all-India legislation to give the CBI statutory powers over central government employees posted anywhere in the country.
  • State governments have resisted such a law on the plea that a central agency would take away the powers of policing vested in them.
  • The ruling party in a state, sometimes genuinely and many times on flimsy grounds, has denied permission to the CBI to investigate matters. Recently, Andhra Pradesh and West Bengal, and earlier Karnataka, Nagaland and Sikkim had withdrawn consent to the CBI to operate.
  • Recent turmoil was in Kolkata, when the CBI team tried to enter the residence of the Kolkata police commissioner, either to interrogate him or to intimidate him.

Other Instances

  • There have been other instances when the CBI faced off with other law enforcement agencies like the Intelligence Bureau (IB), Income Tax Authorities (ITA), Directorate of Enforcement and police forces of different states.
  • These were also due to the CBI lacking legal powers to operate on an all-India basis.
  • Such instances do not sit well with a system where rule of law is paramount.


There is an urgent need to giving statutory backing to the CBI on an all India basis with a constitutional amendment, with the consent of at least half of the state legislatures. Otherwise, such conflict will recur and eventually give rise to unnecessary controversies.

Notify of
Inline Feedbacks
View all comments