Supreme Court today stayed the Gauhati High Court’s order declaring the Central Bureau of Investigation or CBI as “unconstitutional” which didn’t have the power to investigate crimes. The top court has fixed December 6 as the next date for hearing in the matter.
There shall be a stay of operation of impugned judgement of Nov 6, 2013 passed by Gauhati High Court,” said a bench of Chief Justice P Sathasivam and Justice Ranjana Desai at an urgent hearing held at the former’s residence this afternoon.
Federal Government moved the top court today, seeking an immediate stay on last week’s High Court order which it called “erroneous”, arguing that the verdict would adversely impact thousands of criminal cases pending across the country.
Gauhati High Court had, on Wednesday, said that the CBI could not be treated as a police force; it could only conduct “inquiries”. This meant the government’s premier investigating agency stood to lose its power to probe, file FIRs or First Information Reports, arrest suspects and file charge-sheets.High Court order was based on the premise that the Union Home Ministry’s order, under which the CBI was set up in 1963, was invalid as police investigations are under a state’s purview. The court said the Centre had failed to prove that the CBI had been constituted as a special police force under the Delhi Special Police Establishment Act of 1946, from which it derives its powers to investigate. The Centre’s resolution, it noted, was not even sent to the President and never received his assent.
The Federal government should take steps to give the CBI a ‘constitutional shape’ in the wake of the Gauhati high court order, as it has serious implications for the “very important agency,” Jammu and Kashmir Chief Minister Omar Abdullah said.
“The government should think very seriously what steps are needed to be taken to give proper structure and constitutional shape to CBI,” Omar told reporters.