NEW DELHI: The Supreme Court Friday said when the CBI is nominated and entrusted with the investigation of a case by the apex court, there is no limitation of territory, and the jurisdiction is vested across India to probe that matter.
"We are very clear, once this court appoints CBI to investigate a crime, the jurisdiction is vested by virtue of the court order," said a bench of justices A M Khanwilkar and C T Ravikumar.
The bench further said, "when the appointment is made by the court, there is no limitation on CBI about territory."
The top court was hearing a plea against the order of the Punjab and Haryana High Court which had dismissed the petitions raising the issue of territorial jurisdiction in a matter probed by the CBI.
The high court had passed the order on the pleas seeking setting aside of the October 2016 order of a special judge, CBI, Patiala, dismissing the petitions for dropping the proceedings on the alleged ground that the CBI does not have the territorial jurisdiction to register a case in Jammu regarding alleged abduction and killing of a man in Punjab.
The CBI had earlier told the trial court that the case was registered at Jammu after the probe agency had conducted a preliminary enquiry in compliance with the November 1995 order passed by the apex court.
While hearing the matter on Friday, the apex court observed that when the CBI is nominated by the court order, jurisdiction is vested in the probe agency across India to investigate that case.
The trial court had noted that a case was registered by the CBI in February 1997 at Jammu alleging abduction and killing of a person in Punjab.
It had been noted that the charge sheet was prepared at Jammu by the CBI and it was filed before it.
The applicants before the trial court had claimed that registration of the case at Jammu was illegal as no part of the alleged offence was committed within Jammu and Kashmir.
The CBI had argued before the trial court that in compliance with the November 1995 order passed by the apex court in a petition pertaining to the "mass cremation of unidentified dead bodies by the Punjab Police", a preliminary enquiry was registered by the agency in December 1995.
It had said that during the enquiry, this case was registered in February 1997.
The CBI had also told the trial court that on the basis of the result of the preliminary enquiry, various cases were registered, and to cope up with a load of investigation, the case was registered at CBI Jammu.