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Report No. 161

4.2. History and functioning of the Central Bureau of Investigation.-

We may now briefly mention the position of the Central Bureau of Investigation. During World War II, the Government of India issued an ordinance in 1943 constituting a special police force for the investigation of certain offences committed in connection with the affairs of the Central Government. The said ordinance lapsed with the end of the war. In the year 1946, the Parliament enacted the Delhi Special Police Establishment Act. The Act was intended to create a special police establishment, a specialised agency, for making enquiries and investigations into certain specified offences.

Section 5 of the Act provides that the Central Government can, with the concurrence of the State Governments, extend the jurisdiction of the SPE to all States. SPE is envisaged as supplementary to the State police forces, enjoying great powers of investigation in cases notified under section 5 in respect of offences notified under section 3 of the DSPE Act, 1946 which can of course be exercised in a State only with the consent of the Government of that State. The CBI in its present form came into being in 1963 through a Resolution adopted by the Government of India pursuant to the recommendations of the Committee on Prevention of Corruption (Santhanam Committee).

The Resolution also specified the types of cases which would be investigated by the CBI, which of course continues to derive its legal powers for investigation from the aforesaid Act. Over the years the character of the CBI has undergone a significant change. Its role is no longer restricted to anti-corruption activities. It is being increasingly called upon to investigate the conventional crimes and banking and other economic offences. Of course, the main thrust of its functions continues to be on the detection and investigation of offences of bribery and corruption committed by public servants under the control of the Central Government and its undertakings.

According to the Report of the IRC, "under the existing arrangements, the CBI is answerable to the courts in regard to the cases investigated by it. It reports to the Department of Personnel and Training in respect of its administrative matters. During the Committee's discussions with Secretary, Personnel and Director CBI, it was noted that the Personnel Department provides CBI with the required back-up support to enable it to carry out its functions but does not play any role in over-viewing the investigations carried out by the agency.

The CBI furnishes to the Government monthly reports indicating the number of cases taken up for investigation; number in which chargesheets have been filed in courts; number of cases where sanction for prosecution is awaited from competent authorities etc. The Committee found that, based on the aforesaid reports, Government has not been exercising the nature of control over CBI's functioning which has compelled the Supreme Court and certain High Courts to take over monitoring of individual cases".

The directions given by the Supreme Court in the matter of supervision of the functioning and working of the CBI must be understood in the above context. It is obvious that for implementing the directions of the Supreme Court, the relevant provisions of the Delhi Special Police Establishment Act, 1946 have also got to be amended.

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