Sunday 11 May 2014

Prior approval for CBI inquiry of govt servant whether mandatory?

Supreme Court: A five-judge bench examining the constitutional validity of Section 6-A of the Delhi Special Police Establishment Act, 1946 (Act) which made prior approval by a Government employee above the level of Joint Secretary for a CBI inquiry mandatory held that the said section is violative of Article 14 of the Constitution as it defeated the purpose of finding prima facie truth into the allegations of graft, which amount to an offence under the Prevention of Corruption Act, 1988. The rationale behind this was that there was no basis to classify and differentiate public servants into two sets as envisaged by the section. It was this vice which rendered Section 6-A of the Act violative of Article 14 as because of this impugned legislation, it was reasoned that the very group of persons whose misdeeds and illegalities may have to be inquired into, would decide whether the CBI should even start an inquiry or investigation against them or not.
The court further directed that where direct evidence is not present and there is apprehension that the actions of certain officials may be for a corrupt motive, the power to take the decision to proceed or not in that case would rest with the CBI itself and in any event, it should always be with the help and advice of internal aid without outside influence. [Dr. Subramanian Swamy v. Director, Central Bureau of Investigation & Anr., Writ Petition (Civil) No. 38 OF 1997, decided on May 06, 2014]
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