Context

  • The Central Bureau of Investigation acts chiefly at the command of the government of the day, the efficacy of CBI operations largely depends on the political will of the sovereign authority.

CBI: General Introduction

  • CBI is the domestic security agency of India.
  • The CBI is administered by the Ministry of Personnel, Public Grievances and Pensions of the Federal government.
  • CBI is headed by a Cabinet Minister who reports directly to the Prime Minister.
  • CBI is the premier investigative agency with a dual responsibility to investigate grievous cases and provide direction in fighting corruption to the Police force across the country.
  • The CBI established a reputation as India’s foremost investigative agency with the resources for complicated cases.
  • In 1987, the CBI got divided into two divisions: The Anti-Corruption Division and the Special Crimes Division.

Criticism

  • Due to excessive political interference irrespective of which party happened to be in power at the time, the CBI has often been criticized for being a puppet in the hands the government.
  • The government had been exercising excessive influence in the matter, which was affecting the functioning of the agency.

Historical Background Delhi Special Police Establishment Act(SPE), 1946

  • CBI was first set up as Special Police Establishment (SPE) 1941 by the British.
  • SPE was setup to investigate the corruption and economic offenses related to supply department by the Government Officers during the World War II.
  • CBI was not established via any act of the parliament, yet it derives its power of investigation from the Delhi Special Police Establishment Act 1946.
  • Post-independence, it was retained as a Central Government agency to investigate cases of bribery and corruption by Central Government employees.
  • This led to the formation of the Delhi Special Police Establishment Act was enacted 1946.
  • The CBI’s power to investigate cases is derived from this Act.
  • The jurisdiction of the SPE extended to all the Union Territories and could be extended also to the States with the consent of the State Government concerned.
  • By a resolution, the government changed its name to current name in 1960s.

Present stature

  • Presently, CBI comes under the control of Department of Personnel and Training in the Ministry of Personnel, Public Grievances and Pension.
  • CBI is the nodal police agency in India to synchronize with Interpol.
  • CBI investigates those crimes which may have interstate and international ramifications.

Why CBI shouldn’t be an independent body?

  • One cannot let an institution like CBI go adrift and never reporting to any other institution.
  • Such aloofness of never submitting itself to any monitoring review or evaluation with regard to its functioning can be dangerous to the society.
  • CBI as an institution has dominion over the lives and liberties of citizens.
  • The accountability of the CBI is fixed to the government than the people.
  • That kind of total abdication of government responsibility with regard to that kind of an institution is not at all democratic.
  • If an organization is not answerable to the sovereign authority, possibility of corruption increases.
  • CBI as an independent body would seriously jeopardize the scheme of checks and balances envisaged in governance and have a deleterious effect on the criminal justice system/
  • The controversial statutory provision gives the government the sole power to bar any inquiry against an employee despite a request from the agency for a probe.

Why should CBI be an autonomous body?

  • The CBI have reserved their view on being an independent body.
  • CBI posits itself independent enough that the Director should report directly to the Minister concerned.
  • This need to be done as the agency faced hurdles at every stage of its administrative functioning before.
  • The Director also wanted powers to appoint special counsel/retainer for the agency.
  • The elitist and feudal bias of the CBI is reflected in the socio-economic profile of those convicted in corruption cases.
  • Most of these include lower officials, people without political patronage and police officials while it dealt with few cases of politicians,
  • bureaucrats and businessmen.
  • In the last five and half decades of CBI’s existence,
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