Kolkata, April 2 (IANS) The Calcutta High Court will examine the legal validity of the Delhi Special Police Establishment (DSPE) Act as well as that of the CBI which derives its power to investigate from the legislation.
Hearing an appeal by Chandan Biswas, sentenced by a special CBI court in 2018 for corruption, a bench of Justice Protik Prakash Banerjee directed that the matter be posted before Acting Chief Justice Biswanath Somadder for setting up a Constitution bench to decide the issue.
A BSNL official, Biswas was convicted by a Special CBI court for criminal conspiracy and cheating and sentenced to seven years imprisonment.
Justice Banerjee’s order came on amicus curiae Phiroze Edulji’s submission that the case was related to an interpretation of the Constitution and therefore involved substantial questions of law.
The order noted that the Constitution bench must examine the following questions arising in the case. “Whether the Delhi Special Police Establishment Act, 1946, is a valid piece of legislation? Whether the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) is an organ or a part of Delhi Special Police Establishment?
“In a Constitution having a federal form with distinct feels of legislation apportioned to the federal legislature and/or the federating legislature with corresponding executive power where law and order and their maintenance are part of the power given to the federating states whether a federal police force even for investigation can be made by Central legislation without following the procedure established by the Constitution for Central legislature making laws which would be enforceable in each of the states,” said the order.
In 2013, a Gauhati High Court order held that the CBI was neither an organ nor a part of the DSPE and cannot be treated as a police force constituted under the DSPE Act, 1946.
The Gauhati High Court had declared the formation of the CBI “unconstitutional” and quashed the 1963 executive order under which the investigation agency was formed.
This verdict was stayed by the Supreme Court and the matter is still pending before it.