Delhi HC restrains CBI from acting on Lokpal’s direction to probe MCD officials

The Delhi High Court on Wednesday restrained the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) from acting on the Lokpal of India’s order directing the agency to initiate an investigation against the Municipal Corporation of Delhi (MCD) officials over a complaint alleging illegal and unauthorised constructions in South Delhi area.

The court said: “The CBI shall not proceed with the investigation under the impugned order. It is however clarified that if there are any specific complaints which are received by Lokpal against any other officials of the MCD or in general against unauthorised constructions, there would be no interdiction of the Lokpal proceedings, in accordance with law, in such a matter.”

Justice Pratibha M. Singh issued notice to Lokpal and directed to file an affidavit.

The MCD had challenged the Lokpal’s direction to CBI against the officials of the civic body.

The Lokpal, according to the MCD, ordered a CBI investigation on November 28, 2022, without including even the slightest hint of a corruption charge or finding, or providing any convincing justifications for why such a probe was necessary.

In the order issued on Wednesday, Justice Singh noted that the Senior Counsel for the petitioner had brought up a number of legal issues, including the requirement under Section 14 that the state government’s prior approval be obtained before Lokpal could exercise any jurisdiction over employees of any Corporation or Board.

Justice Singh said: “I was reluctant to stay to it because I thought the Lokpal had found something. After seeing the file, I feel both the Lokpal and CVC are behaving… it can’t be like a post office.”

The bench also said that an order for probe can’t be passed against the entire department.

On December 23, 2022, the high court had refused to stay the Lokpal’s order directing a CBI investigation against MCD officials.

The Lokpal had ordered the CBI probe after a complaint against the alleged illegal and unauthorised constructions in Delhi.

The court listed the matter for next hearing on April 25.

20230118-145202

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