The Andhra Pradesh government led by CM Chandrababu Naidu has banned CBI

There are speculations that as the interim director M Nageshwar Rao is from Andhra Pradesh, the state government has taken this step to pre-empt any investigation into the affairs of state government by CBI.

If CBI was not facing enough trouble already, now it has been ‘banned’ from one state in India. The Andhra Pradesh government, through an order issued dated 8th November 2018, has withdrawn the ‘General Consent’ given to CBI to investigate cases in the state.

The order says that in an exercise of the powers conferred by section 6 of Delhi Special Police Establishment Act, 1946, the Andhra Pradesh Government is withdrawing the general consent accorded to all the members of Delhi Special Police Establishment to exercise the powers and jurisdiction under the Act in the State of Andhra Pradesh.

The Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) operates under the Delhi Special Police Establishment Act, and Delhi Special Police Establishment means the CBI in legal terms.

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Section 6 of the Act invoked by the Andhra government says:

Nothing contained in section 5 shall be deemed to enable any member of the Delhi Special Police Establishment to exercise powers and jurisdiction in any area in 2 [a State, not being a Union territory or railway area], without the consent of the Government of that State.]

This means, to investigate any case in any state in India, the CBI needs to obtain consent from the respective state government. If a state government does not give its consent or withdraws such consent given earlier, the CBI has to withdraw from the state.

Ever since Chandrababu Naidu led TDP exited from NDA earlier this year, the party is in a collision course with the central government. The party had even brought a no-confidence motion against the Modi government in parliament, despite the government having a clear majority.

There are speculations that as the interim director M Nageshwar Rao is from Andhra Pradesh, the state government has taken this step to pre-empt any investigation into the affairs of state government by CBI.

A state government effectively banning the premier investigation agency of the nation is a major and very serious incident. It will be interesting to see what action the union government will take next on the issue.

There is already a Gauhati High Court order declaring CBI ‘unconstitutional’, which is stayed by Supreme Court but not overturned yet. Perhaps it is time to bring a comprehensive legislation to govern the Central Bureau of Investigation so that such incidents can be avoided.

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