Question: The withdrawal of general consent for CBI is a gross violation of federal principles. Critically analyse.
Answer: General consent is the permission given by state governments for CBI to investigate a case in the state. Without general consent, CBI will have to apply for permission for every step and every case that they need to investigate. At present, several states have withdrawn the general consent.
Need for withdrawal of consent
- Vendetta politics
CBI is alleged to be used by union government in power to settle political scores. This may put fake blots on opposition governments in the states.
- Uphold jurisdiction of state
Giving permission for CBI to investigate each and every case will demoralize state police. Their authority gets undermined and powers hampered if CBI interrupts.
Concerns due to withdrawal
- Non investigation against government employees
Withdrawing consent will ensure that government employees will be shielded from investigation. This will allow them to indulge in malpractice without any fear.
- Protecting criminals
Criminals involved in wrong activities will be given protection. The state police will act according to state government and they will easily escape from the law.
- Case by case consent
CBI can apply for permission case by case. The state can pick and choose the case for involving CBI. This may in some extent allow presence of CBI in states.
- Cooperative investigation
CBI can ask police of the state in question to investigate a case on their behalf. This will ensure that investigation continues regardless of permission.
Thus, general consent is indeed bedrock of federalism in India. However, there should be measures taken to prevent misuse of this provision.