24 April 2020 2:09 PM GMT
The Supreme Court has observed that the Central Bureau of Investigation can investigate into specified offence committed within Union Territory, by an accused residing in or employed in connection with the affairs of another State, without the consent of that state. The issue raised in this case was whether the CBI was authorised to register cases against the public servants employed...
The issue raised in this case was whether the CBI was authorised to register cases against the public servants employed in connection with the affairs of the Government of Bihar. The contention raised by the accused, who was allegedly involved in a cheating case, was that, he being an officer of the Indian Administrative Service (IAS) employed in connection with the affairs of the Government of Bihar as District Magistrate at Aurangabad District (State of Bihar) could not be subjected to investigation by the CBI without the prior consent of the State.
After examining the scheme of the Delhi Special Police Establishment Act, the bench comprising Justices AM Khanwilkar and Dinesh Maheshwari observed that such a consent may not be necessary regarding the investigation by the special police force (DSPE) in respect of specified offences committed within Union Territory and other offences associated therewith. The bench observed:
"That may be so, even if one of the accused involved in the given case may be residing or employed in some other State (outside the Union Territory) including in connection with the affairs of the State/local body/corporation, company or bank of the State or controlled by the State/institution receiving or having received financial aid from State Government, as the case may be. Taking any other view would require the special police force to comply with the formality of taking consent for investigation even in relation to specified offence committed within Union Territory, from the concerned State merely because of the fortuitous situation that part of the associated offence is committed in other State and the accused involved in the offence is residing in or employed in connection with the affairs of that State. Such interpretation would result in an absurd situation especially when the 1946 Act extends to the whole of India and the special police force has been constituted with a special purpose for investigation of specified offences committed within the Union Territory, in terms of notification issued under Section 3 of the 1946 Act."
Taking note of the contents of FIR, the Court observed that the State police had no jurisdiction to investigate the offence in question, as registered, and therefore there is no need to seek consent of the State in respect of such offence. It said:
"Indisputably, the registered office of BRBCL is within the jurisdiction of Union Territory of Delhi (National Capital Territory of Delhi) and allegedly the offence has been committed at Delhi, for which reason the Delhi Court will have jurisdiction to take cognizance thereof. To put it differently, the offence in question has been committed outside the State of Bihar. The investigation of the stated offence may incidentally transcend to the territory of State of Bihar because of the acts of commission and omission of the appellant who is resident of that State and employed in 27 connection with the affairs of the State of Bihar. That, however, cannot come in the way of special police force (DSPE) from investigating the offence committed at Delhi and has been so registered by it and is being investigated. Had it been an offence limited to manipulation of official record of the State and involvement of officials of the State of Bihar, it would have been a different matter. It is not the case of the appellant or the State of Bihar that even an offence accomplished at Delhi of defrauding of the Government of India undertaking (having registered office at Delhi) and siphoning of the funds thereof at Delhi can be investigated by the State of Bihar. If the State police has had no jurisdiction to investigate the offence in question, as registered, then, seeking consent of the State in respect of such offence does not arise. Any other approach would render the special provisions of the 1946 Act otiose."
Regarding the contention on 1996 Notification provision, the bench observed thus:
"Indeed, the said notification contains a proviso, which predicates that if any public servant employed in connection with the affairs of the Government of Bihar is concerned in offences being investigated by the special police force pursuant to the notification, prior consent of the State Government qua him shall be obtained. This proviso must operate limited to cases or offences which have been committed within the territory of the State of Bihar. If the specified offence is committed outside the State of Bihar, as in this case in Delhi, the State police will have no jurisdiction to investigate such offence and for which reason seeking consent of the State to investigate the same would not arise. In our opinion, the stated proviso will have no application to the offence in question and thus the Delhi special police force/DSPE (CBI) must be held to be competent to register the FIR at Delhi and also to investigate the same without the consent of the State."
Case no.: CRIMINAL APPEAL NO. 414 OF 2020 Case name: Kanwal Tanuj vs. State of Bihar Coram: Justices AM Khanwilkar and Dinesh Maheshwari
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