Daily News Analysis

Power of CBI  

23rd October, 2021 Polity

Figure 1: No Copyright Infringement Intended


  • The Centre has told the Supreme Court that the West Bengal government’s power to withhold consent to inquiry into cases by the Central Bureau of Investigation is not absolute


  • West Bengal government had alleged that the CBI was investigating the cases without permission from the state.
  • On September 28, the Supreme Court had asked the Centre to explain its stand on the matter.

Central government Argument:

  • a state government’s power to give consent to the central agency cannot include an omnibus power to pass sweeping directions, or withdraw consent that has already granted.
  • The statutory power conferred upon the State Government under Section 6 of Delhi Special Police Establishment Act [under which the CBI was established] is always coupled with a responsibility to exercise that power on a case-to-case basis with an inbuilt condition of exercising the same in larger public interest and not to shield any accused.
  • CBI can investigate crimes related to the Union List in the Constitution.
  • It noted that the Union List includes entries related to the defence of India, and arms and ammunition.

About Consent of State:

  • In order to conduct an investigation in a state, the CBI must mandatorily have the consent of that state government.
  • The general consent is routinely given by State governments for periods ranging from six months to a year to the CBI and all agencies under the Delhi Special Police Establishment (DSPE) Act, 1946.
  • The consent is necessary as the jurisdiction of these agencies is confined to Delhi and Union Territories under this Act.

About Central Bureau of Investigation:


  • The Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) was set up in 1963 by a resolution of the Ministry of Home Affairs. Later, it was transferred to the Ministry of Personnel and now it enjoys the status of an attached office.
  • The Special Police Establishment (which looked into vigilance cases) setup in 1941 was also merged with the CBI.
  • The establishment of the CBI was recommended by the Santhanam Committee on Prevention of Corruption (1962–1964).
  • The CBI is not a statutory body. It derives its powers from the Delhi Special Police Establishment Act, 1946.


  • The CBI is the main investigating agency of the Central Government.
  • It plays an important role in the prevention of corruption and maintaining integrity in administration.
  • It also provides assistance to the Central Vigilance Commission and Lokpal.

Composition of CBI:

  • The CBI is headed by a Director.
  • The Director of CBI has been provided security of two-year tenure in office by the CVC Act, 2003.
  • The Central Government shall appoint the Director of CBI on the recommendation of a three-member committee consisting of the Prime Minister as Chairperson, the Leader of Opposition in the Lok Sabha and the Chief Justice of India or Judge of the Supreme Court nominated by him.