8 Sep 2022 3:36 PM GMT
The Supreme Court, on Thursday, indicated that it would commence with the hearing of the challenge to the Calcutta High Court order, whereby it allowed the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) to investigate illegal mining and transportation of coal through Railways in West Bengal and other related cases without the State's consent from 18th October, 2022. As Attorney General, Mr. K.K....
The Supreme Court, on Thursday, indicated that it would commence with the hearing of the challenge to the Calcutta High Court order, whereby it allowed the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) to investigate illegal mining and transportation of coal through Railways in West Bengal and other related cases without the State's consent from 18th October, 2022.
As Attorney General, Mr. K.K. Venugopal informed a Bench comprising Justices D.Y. Chandrachud and Hima Kohli that he would be appearing for the Union Government in a batch of petitions challenging the Constitutional Amendment allowing reservation for Economically Weaker Sections(EWS) listed before a Constitution Bench led by the CJI, from the next Tuesday (13th Sept), the Bench thought it fit to adjourn the matter to 18th October. It was of the opinion that if the matter cannot be taken up at a stretch it would hamper the sense of continuity. The Bench suggested that it would hear the matter on a day-to-day basis for 3 days.
Senior Advocate, Mr. Siddharth Luthra sought interim relief for TMC leader Vinay Mishra in line with the protection granted to Anup Majee. The Bench rejected it. Recalling the accused is in Dubai, Justice Chandrachud commented -
All these days there was no interim order. Nothing happened. Let him be where he is for one more month
Some preliminary arguments were forwarded on both sides. The Attorney General submitted that the CBI cannot be prevented from investigating offences related to List I (Union List) of Seventh Schedule of the Constitution of India, 1950. And for the same, he added, no consultation with the State Government is required. He apprised the Bench that on the next date of hearing he would argue that so far as the involvement of the Central Government officers in the act of corruption, the question of States consent does not arise at all. Similarly, for every offence under a Central Act, CBI is entitled to investigate without consent of the respective State Government.
Senior Advocate, Mr. Rohatgi argued against the transfer. He reckoned that if a Central Government officer commits an offence in a State is it not the prerogative of the State police to register the crime. He submitted that in one of the matters the allegation is that the accused is involved in smuggling coal from a railway station. He contended that the argument of the Central Government is that railway areas are vested in the Central Government and for investigating any illegal activity carried out in the railway areas, they would not require consent of the State Government.
Apparently, there is an exception with respect to railway areas across India.
The Solicitor General, Mr. Tushar Mehta submitted that the Central Vigilance Commission Act empowers the said Commission to direct any investigation to CBI. He argued that in this case the matter could be entrusted with the CBI as the victim had approached the CVC.
Justice Chandrachud did not seem to be convinced that CVC Act can override the restrictions elucidated in the Delhi Special Police Establishment Act.
...CBI would still be governed by the restrictions in the DSPE Act.
Mr. Mehta submitted -
There is an FIR already filed in Uttar Pradesh and UP entrusted investigation to CBI as it is a multi state scam.
The Bench stated that it would hear the matter at length on the next date of hearing.
[Case Title: Anup Majee v. CBI And Ors. SLP(Crl) No. 1620-21/2021]
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