The Centre wants the CBI to be governed by a pre-independence law which the agency insists should be scrapped, but UPA has snubbed its demand and firmly ruled out any new law.
The department for personnel and training (DoPT), having administrative control over the CBI, in consultation with the law ministry, refused to heed warnings from parliamentary panels about the 1946 law being “outdated and grossly inadequate.” Records show that the CBI termed the Delhi Special Police Establishment (DSPE) Act 1946, “a pre-independence and pre-Constitution era law” in a note to the government and sought its replacement with a new law.
In a response to the parliamentary standing committee on personnel and law in May this year, government rejected the CBI demand.
“The proposal to give statutory backing to the CBI through a new bill has been under consideration. There is, however, already an exclusive legislation for CBI called the DSPE Act, amended in 2003. After the AG’s opinion in the matter, no further proposal for a separate law is under consideration,” the government told the panel.
The parliamentary panel disagreed with the government’s response. “The Committee is of the considered view that a solid legal backing is needed for CBI and that the DSPE Act 1946, is grossly inadequate to cater to the agency whose mandate has increased manifold,” it recommended.
This was the fifth recommendation in as many years by parliamentary panels on personnel and law on since 2008.
Demanding a new law, then CBI director Ashwani Kumar had written to the government in 2010: “We are in a situation where criminals do not respect any even boundary, whether national or international, but we are still being governed by the same outdated geographical jurisdictions of pre-independence era. It is high time we thought of having a CBI Act.”