The Union government on Tuesday told the Supreme Court that it has nothing to do with the post-poll violence cases registered by the CBI in West Bengal and the lawsuit filed by the state government in which the Union of India is made a party is not maintainable.
Attorney General K K Venugopal told a bench headed by Justice L Nageswara Rao that CBI being an autonomous body set up under the special Act of Parliament is the agency that is registering and investigating cases and the Union government had no role in it. Union of India (UoI) has not registered a single case. Nor does it have jurisdiction to register any criminal case. UOI has nothing to do with registering or investigating a case.
UoI is not concerned with any of the issues and there is a special act 'Delhi Special Police Establishment (DSPE) Act' and the officers of that establishment register and investigate a case. UoI is not the necessary party. Therefore a suit cannot be filed by the West Bengal government against the UoI as CBI is the concerned party, the AG told the bench also comprising Justices B R Gavai and B V Nagarathna.
Venugopal submitted that CBI, set up under the DSPE Act, and its officers are autonomous and how they carry out an investigation cannot be interfered with by the Union government.
Therefore registering and investigating an FIR is purely by an autonomous body. Article 131 is for dispute between the Union government and the states. The entire claim and relief is against the CBI. It is an autonomous body set up under the special Act of Parliament. How can relief be granted against me (Union government) not to register a case, the AG said.
Senior advocate Siddharth Luthra, appearing for West Bengal, said there has been a complete mockery of the rules that the other side has made.
The suit will have to be allowed. No written statement has been made until now and there is no appearance, Luthra submitted. The matter is posted for hearing after two weeks.
The Union government had earlier told the top court that West Bengal's power to withhold consent to the CBI is not absolute and the probe agency is entitled to carry out investigations that are being carried out against Union government employees or have a pan-India impact.
The Union government had submitted an affidavit in response to a lawsuit by the West Bengal government which alleged that the CBI is going ahead with the investigation in post-poll violence cases without securing the pre-requisite nod from the state under the law.
It had said the apex court that the Union of India has not registered any case in West Bengal, nor has it been investigating any case.
The affidavit had said that numerous investigations are being carried out against Central government employees or have either pan-India impact or impact on more than one state to investigate such offences.
It had said the consent of West Bengal was sought for some offences but it is not understood as to why the state government came in the way of such an investigation which would have an inevitable effect of shielding those who are guilty of such multi-State/pan-India offences.
The West Bengal government, in its original civil suit under Article 131 of the Constitution, referred to the provisions of the Delhi Special Police Establishment Act 1946 and said that the Central Bureau of Investigation has been proceeding with the probe and filing FIRs without getting the nod from the state government as mandated under the statute.
Under Article 131 the apex court has original jurisdiction to deal with disputes between the Union government and states.
The CBI recently lodged multiple FIRs in cases of post-poll violence in West Bengal. The state government sought a stay of investigations into the FIRs lodged into post-poll violence cases by CBI in pursuance of the Calcutta High Court order. The suit said that as the general consent given to the central agency by the Trinamool Congress government has been withdrawn, the FIRs lodged cannot be proceeded with. It has also sought to stay for any such FIR in the future.