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August 3, 2021
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Punjab becomes latest state to withdraw general consent to CBI

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The Punjab Government has taken a big decision regarding the CBI on Monday. Punjab has become the ninth state in the country that has withdrawn the general consent of the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) to investigate a case in the state. For the CBI investigation of any new case in Punjab, the agency will first have to get permission from the state government. After this decision, any CBI officer entering Punjab will automatically lose the rights of the police officer and will not be able to take any action without the permission of the state government. This decision of Punjab has come two days after such a step taken by the state of Jharkhand.

The state’s Amarinder government on Monday passed an order withdrawing the consent given to the CBI for the use of jurisdiction and powers in the state. However, the CBI will be able to investigate all the cases that have been registered in Punjab till the return of General Consent. Earlier this month, the Maharashtra and Jharkhand governments had also announced the withdrawal of general counsel from the CBI. Previously, West Bengal, Andhra Pradesh, Rajasthan, Sikkim, Kerala and Nagaland have also taken this step. These states allege that the BJP-ruled central government is misusing the Central Investigation Agency to harass political opponents.

In a notification published in state government’s gazette on November 8, Additional Chief Secretary, department of home affairs and justice, has issued orders, “In exercise of the powers conferred by section 6 of the Delhi Special Police Establishment Act, 1946 (Central Act No. 25 of 1946), the Government of Punjab hereby withdraws the general consent accorded to the members of the Delhi Special Police Establishment, anytime hereinbefore.”

The notification also reads that “Given revocation of all previous general consents issued earlier, prior consent of the Government of Punjab shall be required, hereinafter, on a case-to-case basis for investigation of any offence or class of offences under section 3 of the aforesaid Act, by the Delhi Special Police Establishment.

It is to be noted that CBI is governed by the Delhi Special Police Establishment Act. Under this act, it is mandatory to get the consent of the state government for investigation in any state.

At present, the CBI is fighting a court battle with the state government in the investigation of the Bahibal Kalan firing in Punjab. It’s noteworthy that Punjab had earlier withdrawn consent given to cases of Bargari sacrilege and Behbal Kalan firing after the Assembly had passed a resolution to withdraw these cases from CBI.

But after the new decision of the Punjab government, now the CBI will not be able to investigate the Bahibal Kalan firing because the state government has already withdrawn the case from the CBI. Now CBI will have to seek state permission for this again, which is not possible to get.

Bengal, ruled by Mamata Banerjee’s Trinamool Congress, withdrew general consent in the year 2018. On the lines of Bengal, the then Andhra Pradesh government of Andhra Pradesh, headed by Chandrababu Naidu, took a similar decision in November 2018. After withdrawing from the NDA, Chandrababu Naidu alleged that the central government is using investigative agencies for its benefit. However, after Jagan Mohan Reddy came to power, Andhra Pradesh withdrew the motion.

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