December,24,2015: The Delhi High Court has said that special courts constituted under the Prevention of Corruption Act cannot ask the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) to probe a case.
“The Special Judge takes the seat of a Magistrate as a court of original criminal jurisdiction while dealing with an application under Section 156(3) or 202 of the (Criminal Procedure) Code and does not have the power to direct the CBI to investigate into a matter,” justice Siddharth Mridul said in a verdict on Wednesday.
The court set aside orders dated 18 February 2013 and 7 May 2014 passed by a special CBI court, which directed a probe by the agency into properties allegedly owned by a former secretary of the Research & Analysis Wing (RAW) A.K. Verma and his family members. RAW is India’s spy agency.
Section 156(3) of the Criminal Procedure Code empowers a magistrate to order an investigation into certain cases and Section 202 allows a magistrate to delay the proceedings of a trial and order a probe first.
The judge clarified that mere allegations against government officials did not merit an investigation by the CBI.
The CBI is not an investigating agency of the Court presided over by the Special Judge under Prevention of Corruption Act, 1988. The status of the CBI cannot be de-escalated to that of an “officer- in-charge of the police station” under Section 156(3) of the Code, the Court said.
Merely because the allegations pertain to government officials, does not make it a case which should be investigated by the CBI. The power to direct investigation to the CBI is to be exercised with caution and in select few recherché cases, keeping in mind that the CBI should not be overburdened with matters that do not require such expertise, the Court added.
Mridul further added that only the Supreme Court and the High Courts had the power to direct the CBI to conduct probes.
Read Full Text of the Judgment-