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No State consent is required for FIR registration & investigation against Bihar 'IAS' by CBI, if offence is committed in Delhi: SC

The SC on April 24, 2020 {Kanwal Tanuj  v State of Bihar & Ors.} held that consent of the State under Section 6 of the Delhi Special Police Establishment Act, 1946 (for short, “the 1946 Act”) cannot come in the way or constrict the jurisdiction of the special police force constituted under Section 2 to investigate specified offences under Section 3 of the 1946 Act committed within the Union Territories. It was held that indeed, when the Court of competent jurisdiction proceeds to take cognizance of offence and   particularly   against   the   appellant, it   may   consider   the question of necessity of a prior sanction of the State of Bihar qua its official(s) as may be required by law.   

It was further held by the SC Bench, comprising of Justice A.M. Khanwilkar &  Justice Dinesh Maheshwari, that notification dated 19.2.1996 cannot be the basis to disempower the special police force/DSPE (CBI) from registering the offence committed   at   Delhi   to   defraud   the   Government   of   India undertaking (BRBCL) and siphoning of its funds and having its registered office at Delhi. It was held that allegedly, the stated offence has been committed at Delhi. It was held that if so, the Delhi Courts will have jurisdiction to take cognizance thereof.  It was further held that the State police (State of Bihar) cannot   investigate   the   specified   offences   committed   and accomplished at Delhi, being outside the territory of the State of Bihar. It was observed that it must follow that the consent of the State of Bihar to investigate such offence is not required in law and for which reason, the special police force would be competent to carry on the   investigation   thereof   even   if   one   of   the accused   allegedly involved   in   the   commission   of   stated   offence   happens   to   be resident of the State of Bihar or employed in connection with the affairs   of   the   Government   of   Bihar   and   allegedly   committed associated offences in that capacity.

The principal ground canvassed by the appellant before the SC was   that   he   being   an   officer   of   the   Indian Administrative   Service   (IAS)   employed   in   connection   with   the affairs   of   the   Government   of   Bihar   as   District   Magistrate   at Aurangabad District (State of Bihar) could not be subjected to investigation by the CBI without the prior consent of the State.

The present appeal before the SC emanated from the judgment passed by the High Court of Judicature at Patna, whereby the writ petition filed by the appellant for quashing of first information report (FIR) registered by the Central Bureau   of   Investigation   (for   short,   “the   CBI”)   under   Sections 120B, 420, 467, 468 and 471 of the Indian Penal Code (for short, “the   IPC”)   read   with   Section   13(1)(d)   of   the   Prevention   of Corruption Act, 1988 (for short, “the PC Act”) came to be rejected.

The core issue which arose for consideration in the present case before SC was: whether the proviso in the notification dated 19.2.1996 would come in the way of the officials of DSPE to register FIR and carry on investigation of specified offences committed within the Union Territory (National Capital Territory of Delhi), to which the 1946 Act applies? The same was answered in negative. It was held that no such permission is required as the offence was committed in NCT of Delhi.

It was held by the SC that, indeed,  the  notification dated 19.2.1996  contains   a   proviso,   which predicates that if any public servant employed in connection with the affairs of the Government of Bihar is concerned in offences being investigated by the special police force pursuant to the notification, prior consent of the State Government qua him shall be   obtained.  It was held that this   proviso   must   operate   limited   to   cases   or offences which have been committed within the territory of the State of Bihar. It was held that if the specified offence is committed outside the State of Bihar, as in this case in Delhi, the State police will have no jurisdiction to investigate such offence and for which reason seeking consent of the State to investigate the same would not arise.

In view of the above, the appeal was dismissed by the SC, the judgment of the HC was sustained. 

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