Prior Nod to Probe Babus: SC to Check Validity of Law
To examine the constitutional validity of the law that makes it mandatory for the CBI to take approval from competent authority to probe corruption cases against senior bureaucrats the Supreme Court on Tuesday commenced the much awaited hearing.
A five-judge constitution Bench, headed by Justice R M Lodha, will decide the validity of Section 6A of the Delhi Special Police Establishment Act, 1946, which protects senior bureaucrats from being directly probed by the CBI. Senior advocate Anil Divan, who is an amicus curiae in the case began his arguments before the Bench and said: “The object of detecting and punishing high-level corruption is undermined with certain impugned provisions. The concept of independent, unhampered, unbiased, efficient and quick investigation of culpable high-level bureaucrats is wholly subverted by certain provisions.”
He submitted that when the investigation reaches to the officer of joint secretary and above level, it suddenly comes to a halt for the want of approval under Section 6A and ultimately frustrates the entire probe. “This paralyses the effort to root out high level corruption and undermines the rule of law,” he said. “Section 6A offer an impregnable shield (except when there is a court monitored investigation) to the criminal-bureaucratic-political nexus. If the CBI is not even allowed to verify complaints by preliminary enquiry how can the case move forward? Will it not be thwarted and delayed at the very commencement,” he submitted.
“The high-level bureaucratic corruption goes hand in hand, on many occasions, with political corruption at the highest level. This very group of high ranking bureaucrats (whose misconduct and criminality, if any, requires to be first inquired into and thereafter investigated) can thwart, defeat and impair this exercise.”
“In substance, the potential accused would decide whether their conduct should The arguments remain inconclusive and will continue on Wednesday as well.
The first petition in this regard was filed in 1997 by BJP leader Subramanina Swamy and later in 2004 by an NGO, CPIL.