Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) is a premier investigation authority of India. Unfortunately, it is not governed by a legal framework that can confer legitimacy to it. An executive order is responsible for its origin that also for the past 50 years.
This is the reason why a Division Bench of Gauhati High Court has held that the very process of setting up the CBI was invalid and unconstitutional. For the time being that decision has been stayed by the Supreme Court of India but this does not absolve the Indian Parliament for enacting suitable legal framework for CBI.
Event he Supreme Court of India has observed that CBI is a caged parrot and asked Indian Government to formulate a law for CBI as soon as possible. Reacting to this deadline, the Indian Government has set up a Group of Ministers (GoM) to draft a law for CBI. However, there seems to be no progress in this direction and even the intentions of Indian Government to make CBI independent and autonomous are now in doubts. The proposed Jan Lokpal Bill is once again testing the legitimacy of Indian Parliament that is in very bad condition.
Now the Supreme Court of India has given a shot in the arms of public activists who are fighting against corruption in India. According to TOI, the Supreme Court on Tuesday (i.e. 17-12-2013) held that no approval from the Centre is required by the CBI to prosecute senior bureaucrats in court-monitored corruption cases.
A three-judge bench headed by Justice RM Lodha gave the CBI power to investigate officers of the rank of joint secretary and above without the Centre’s prior permission in cases where Court is monitoring the probe. Thus the deck has been cleared for the investigative agency to prosecute bureaucrats allegedly involved in coalgate scam without waiting for government’s sanction.
The section 6A of the Delhi Special Police Establishment Act will not bar the CBI from investigating top bureaucrats in corruption cases into which probes were either directed or being monitored by the apex court, the bench said. The bench had made it clear that the court takes the task of monitoring the investigation “when there is always a lurking doubt that the executive will abuse power”.