Parliament Panel Proposes Separate Law For CBI; Government Opposes

NDTV, February 08, 2017

Terming as inadequate the powers given to CBI, a parliamentary committee has suggested separate statute for the premier probe agency to replace the more than 70-year-old legislation that mandates its working at present.

The Delhi Special Police Establishment (DSPE) Act, 1946 governs the working of the Central Bureau of Investigation.

“The Committee is of the view that the powers given to the CBI under the DSPE Act are not adequate considering the pace of changing times and in this context, the Committee recommended for a separate statute for the CBI,” Department-Related Parliamentary Standing Committee on Personnel, Public Grievances, Law and Justice said in its recent report.

The panel had in its earlier report opined that not granting ample powers to the CBI amounts to degrading the status of the investigation agency.

“The Committee is of the view that the CBI is the only agency in India which has acquired and accumulated the necessary expertise in successfully investigating wide hues of transnational, terrorist and organised crimes and that enacting an enabling legislation for the CBI will be a major step toward evolving it into an independent and accountable agency which specialises in prevention, investigation and prosecution of crimes,” it had said.

The Department of Personnel and Training (DoPT) in its reply said the CBI has grown into more dynamic and efficient organisation since the submission of the panel’s report (that had recommended separate legislation).

“The subject of bringing a separate statute for the CBI has been considered and it has been concluded that the Constitution would require to be amended, which may also impinge on the federal structure of the Constitution and the mandate of Parliament to enact a law which would be in conflict with Entry 2 of List II which is in the domain of the States.”

“Therefore, it is not open to the central government to constitute a CBI and confer on it powers which will impinge on all the powers of investigation of offences which are conferred on the state police,” it said.

To this, the panel said all apprehensions of the DoPT have already been addressed in earlier reports and reiterated its observation of having a separate legislation to govern the working of the CBI.

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