60 Years of Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI)

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    In News

    • The premier investigating police agency of India, the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI), completes its 60 years of service to the nation.

    About 

    • Diamond Jubilee Inauguration
      • On this Occasion, the Prime Minister Narendra Modi inaugurated the Diamond Jubilee Celebrations in New Delhi.
      • The PM said the CBI has established itself as a trustable and efficient institution. From bank frauds to wildlife-related frauds, CBI’s scope of work has increased manifold. CBI keeps the spirit of truth alive in the hearts of the common people.
    • Zero tolerance against corruption 
      • The Prime Minister said that the CBI is strengthening New India’s policy of zero tolerance against corruption.
      • Corruption disrupts the opportunities of youth and demeans talent, supporting only the privileged. It hampers the capability of the nation, which impacts its progress.
    • Quality investigation through use of tech & innovation
      • The PM elaborated that the use of technology and innovation will improve the quality of investigation.
    • Extension of CBI office
      • Prime Minister Modi also inaugurated the newly constructed office complexes of the CBI at Shillong, Pune, and Nagpur. He released a Postage Stamp and Commemorative Coin marking the Diamond Jubilee Celebration year of the CBI.

    Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI)

    • History of the CBI:
      • The CBI came into being during World War II, when the colonial government felt the need to probe cases of corruption in the War and Supply Department. A law came in 1941. It became the DSPE Act in 1946.
      • The Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) was established by a resolution of the Ministry of Home Affairs, Government of India, dated April 1, 1963.
      • The CBI is not a statutory body but derives its power to investigate from the Delhi Special Police Establishment Act, 1946.
      • The CBI functions under the Ministry of Personnel, Public Grievances and Pensions of the central government, and is exempted from the purview of the Right to Information (RTI) Act.
    • Functions:
      • In 1963, the CBI was established by the Government of India with a view to investigate serious crimes related to the defence of India, corruption in high places, serious fraud, cheating, and embezzlement and social crime, particularly hoarding, black marketing, and profiteering in essential commodities, having all-India and inter-state ramifications.
      • It is also the nodal police agency in India that coordinates investigations on behalf of Interpol member countries.
    • Jurisdiction: 
      • Section 6 of the DPSE Act authorises the central government to direct CBI to probe a case within the jurisdiction of any state on the recommendation of the concerned state government. The courts can also order a CBI probe, and even monitor the progress of investigation.
      • CBI can suo-moto take up investigation of offences only in the Union Territories.
      • The Lokpal Act 2013 prescribed that the CBI director shall be appointed on the recommendation of a committee comprising the Prime Minister, Leader of the Opposition in the Lok Sabha and Chief Justice of India or a judge of the Supreme Court nominated by him
    • Conviction rate : 
      • According to the Central Vigilance Commission (CVC) annual report, its conviction rate is as high as 65 to 70%, which is comparable to the best investigation agencies in the world.

    General Consent

    • Given that the CBI has jurisdiction only over central government departments and employees, 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. Thus, it gets a general consent instead of a case-specific consent to avoid taking permission each time.
    • The general consent is normally given for periods ranging from six months to a year.

    How many types of consent are there for the CBI?

    • There are two types of consent for a probe by the CBI. These are: general and specific.
      • When a state gives a general consent to the CBI for probing a case, the agency is not required to seek fresh permission every time it enters that state in connection with investigation or for every case.
      • When a general consent is withdrawn, CBI needs to seek case-wise consent for investigation from the concerned state government. If specific consent is not granted, the CBI officials will not have the power of police personnel when they enter that state.

    Issues in functioning of CBI 

    • Legislative Problems:  The conduct or continuance of investigation into offences committed within the territory of a state, consent of the state is required which most of the time is delayed or even denied.
    • Administrative issues: Lack of infrastructure, sufficient manpower and modern equipment; in-human conditions, especially at the lowest rung; questionable methods of procuring evidence; officers failing to abide by the rule book; and lack of accountability of erring officers.
    • Political Issues: In May 2013, as multiple corruption scandals dogged the UPA government, the Supreme Court made an observation about the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) that has stuck to the agency ever since.
      • A Bench headed by Justice R M Lodha described the CBI as “a caged parrot speaking in its master’s voice” (Politicisation of CBI).
      • The observation was made in the context of government interference in the functioning of the CBI in its investigation of the coal blocks allocation cases. 
    • Transparency Issues: The CBI is exempted from the purview of the Right to Information (RTI) Act, 2005.
    • Overlapping Functions: There is an overlap in jurisdictions of CVC, CBI and Lokpal in certain cases leading to problems. 

    Way Forward

    • The role, jurisdiction and legal powers of the CBI need to be clearly laid down.
    • It will give it goal clarity, role clarity, autonomy in all spheres and an image makeover as an independent autonomous statutory body.
    • 2nd ARC: New legislation should be there for CBI’s governance
    • Parliamentary standing committee (2007): Strengthen Human & financial resources, better investments and more autonomy.

    Source: AIR