Fuelling the bitter war between the TDP and the BJP further, the Chandrababu Naidu led Andhra Pradesh government has withdrawn general consent, which accommodates discharge of duties by members of the Delhi Special Police Establishment, including Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) sleuths, in the state.
A Government Order (GO) 176 has been issued in this regard on November 8 by AR Anuradha, Principal Secretary to the state government of Andhra Pradesh, but surfaced on Friday.
In the absence of this consent, the CBI cannot interfere with any case that takes place within the limits of the state. The CBI had been carrying out its operations in the state as per the general consent orders issued in united Andhra Pradesh. The CBI has been getting an extension from the AP government to carry out investigations in various cases from time to time.
According to Section 6 of Delhi Special Police Establishment, 1946, which deals with ‘Consent of State Government to exercise powers and jurisdiction’, “Nothing contained in section 5 shall be deemed to enable any member of the Delhi Special Police Establishment to exercise powers and jurisdiction in any area in a State,without the consent of the Government of that State.”
This means that the CBI does not have a nationwide jurisdiction under the Act. It is only upon a court order or a request by the state or central government, that the Department of Personnel and Training (DoPT) grants jurisdiction to the CBI. However, for anti-corruption cases, the CBI does not need to seek this permission and can bypass it.
The CBI is yet to respond to the GO but it is expected to seek legal opinion before it comes to a decision.
Speaking to TNM, former CBI Director Vijay Shankar said, “It is part of the law and it has happened before and there is nothing unusual about it.”
Just last year, the Sikkim High Court held that Section 6 of Delhi Special Police Establishment Act, as constitutional and valid.
“Under the legislative scheme, Parliament has no competence to extend power and jurisdiction of DSPE to any other State without consent of the concerned State. Withdrawal of consent to initiate an investigation is not final and it may be granted in any specific offence in future at any point of time or can be withdrawn,” the Bench observed.
The fresh order by the state government garners significance in the wake of the ongoing tussle between the BJP led union government and the Andhra government. The move was apparently taken to restrict the CBI. The ruling TDP had called the recent raids on the houses and firms of its leaders a ‘political vendetta’ with the motive of halting the state’s development.
According to the Delhi Special Police Establishment Act of 1946, the CBI has to take the general consent of the respective state government to exercise its powers in each state.
The GO reads: “In exercise of the powers conferred by section 6 of the Delhi Special Establishment Act 1946 (Central Act no 25 1946) the government hereby withdraws the general consent accorded in G.O. 109 Home (SC A) dated 3.8.2018 to all the members of Delhi Special Police Establishment to exercise the powers and jurisdiction under the said act in the state of Andhra Pradesh.”
It is also largely reported that the state police have been asked to book CBI officials if they are found to be involved in or conducting raids in the state.