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Saturday, November 9, 2013

Supreme Court Of India Brings CBI Back To Business!




Nobody could have imagined in his/her wildest of dreams that the premiere and the most trustworthy investigating agency of India would find itself suddenly out of business. It actually happened on Thursday, the 7th of November, 2013 when the Gauhati (Guwahati) High Court while hearing on a petition held the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) ‘unconstitutional’, and not even a ‘police force’. It quashed the April 1, 1963 Resolution constituting CBI under the Delhi Special Police Establishment Act, 1946 and declared all its actions unconstitutional.  The judgment by the division bench, comprising justices I A Ansari and Indira Shah, came on a writ petition filed by Navendra Kumar challenging an order by a single judge of the high court in 2007 on the resolution through which CBI was set up. The whole country was plunged into a deep crisis.

For obvious reasons. CBI has been investigating innumerable cases relating to corruption, frauds, high profile murders and more all over the country. Charge-sheets have been filed in various huge scams, big personalities ranging from former ministers, bureaucrats and business tycoons have been arrested and put into jails, and various scams are in various stages of litigation. The Government of India, the opposition political parties irrespective of what they spell out aloud, the states of the country and of course the citizens have been pinning their hopes on this agency for punishing the guilty. It has also been known that different states of India always ask for CBI investigation in all high profile crimes where actions of the local police and politicians are suspect. And suddenly, the CBI stopping to function, not accepting new cases and casting a shadow over the future of many scams.

There are some hilarious effects too. Quite few scam-accused including central and state ministers have started appealing in courts for stalling future proceedings of their respective cases as the lawful prosecutor became ‘illegal’. These corrupt criminals reacted as if clutching the last straw. All others are pitifully short of articulating proper and correct reactions as most did not know how to react. The main opposition political parties who always chase the CBI as the main manipulative instrument in the hands of the ruling coalition suddenly could not welcome this dramatic development and appealed to the Government only to get a stay from the Supreme Court of India immediately. Maybe these parties understood that they also have hopes of coming to power and in that case they would need the CBI as urgently as the present power.

The Government of India got into top gear to resolve the issue. Speculation was that the appeal against the verdict would be filed today and a probable hearing would be on Monday. But perhaps in a never-before development the Government not only filed the appeal today but also paved the way for a hearing in the afternoon. The Supreme Court of India hearing was held in the residence of the Chief Justice of India and as expected, a stay on the Gauhati High Court verdict was granted. The Supreme Court expressed concern at criminals asking for stay of trials and the large number of accused in various sensational scams citing this as reasons for the stay. The next hearing would be on December 6, 2013.

The unprecedented crisis was resolved and the CBI went back to business. There is a collective sigh of relief all over the country with the exception perhaps of the frustrated corrupt criminals of the country.
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