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regular-article-logo Saturday, 20 April 2024

Supreme Court ready for urgent hearing on CBI's power to investigate cases in Bengal

Sitting on a bench with Justice J.B. Pardiwala and Justice Manoj Misra, Justice Chandrachud did not give any firm date for the hearing, although the CJI assured senior advocate Kapil Sibal who appeared for the Bengal government that he would discuss the matter with Justice B.R. Gavai before whom the matter had been listed

Our Legal Correspondent New Delhi Published 22.02.24, 05:45 AM
The Supreme Court.

The Supreme Court. File picture

Chief Justice of India D.Y. Chandrachud on Wednesday agreed to consider the Bengal government’s plea for urgent listing of a suit filed by it in 2021 challenging the powers of the CBI to conduct probes in the state despite the withdrawal of the “general consent” for the central agency by the Mamata Banerjee dispensation in 2018.

Sitting on a bench with Justice J.B. Pardiwala and Justice Manoj Misra, Justice Chandrachud did not give any firm date for the hearing, although the CJI assured senior advocate Kapil Sibal who appeared for the Bengal government that he would discuss the matter with Justice B.R. Gavai before whom the matter had been listed.

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The bench gave the assurance after Sibal complained that the suit filed by the state in 2018 had seen nine adjournments till date without any effective hearing.

Initially, Sibal had mentioned the matter before Justice Gavai’s bench which suggested that the senior counsel make a request before the CJI.

Sibal then took up the matter with the CJI complaining that the CBI had been proceeding with investigations and filing FIRs without getting the state’s prior nod.

“This is listed before Justice B.R. Gavai. This has been adjourned over nine times… if it can be heard on a Wednesday or…,” Sibal submitted.

Solicitor General Tushar Mehta said: “It is a two-year-old suit. There is no urgency in this.” Sibal then countered: “It is a 21 matter!”

The CJI then said he would consider the request after discussing the issue with Justice Gavai and fix a date for the hearing.

Bengal had filed the suit in 2021, challenging the CBI probes into various corruption cases and other offences in the state. On November 16, 2018, the state had withdrawn the general consent to the central agency for investigations.

Section 6 of the Delhi Special Police Establishment (DSPE) Act empowers states to withdraw the general consent available to the CBI for investigating cases.

The CBI is currently probing a dozen cases in Bengal, including those pertaining to alleged anomalies in teachers’ recruitment and Sarada funds scam.

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