A parliamentary committee has criticised judicial activism of Supreme and higher courts by overseeing investigation and passing interim directions to CBI saying it may appear to be a colourable exercise of power by them.
The committee also noted that various high courts and Supreme Court are frequently issuing directions to CBI to handle cases relating to Prevention of Corruption Act, 1988 as also of “Public Order”.
The superior courts are even directing CBI in a number of cases to report day-to-day progress in a sealed cover bypassing Sections 172 and 173 of the Criminal Procedure Code, 1973 and performing functions envisaged under the criminal justice system of the country for the lowest rung of criminal court, the Parliamentary Standing Committee on Personnel, Public Grievances, Law and Justice said in its report.
“Judicial activism of higher judiciary by taking pains of overseeing an investigation and passing interim directions to CBI and even pre-empting the rights and remedies available to affected persons under criminal justice system.
“It may, therefore, appear to affected persons as a pre- emptive and colourable exercise of power by the superior courts,” it said.
The remarks assume significance as probes in most of multi-crore corruption cases like 2G spectrum allocation, coal blocks allocation and Vyapam scams are being monitored by the Supreme Court.
The panel also objected to setting up of special CBI courts in various districts of the states saying it was leading to introduction of dual judicial system which is not contemplated under the Constitution.
“The Committee is afraid that this trend if allowed to persist may lead to inversion of pyramidal structure of governance provided under the Constitution of India and it may get crumbled under the weight of overburdened judiciary, executive and Parliament,” it said in the report on Lokpal and Lokayuktas and Other Related Law (Amendment) Bill, 2014, which was tabled in both the Houses of Parliament on Monday.
It impinges upon the division of power and the federal character of the Constitution. “This trend is making CBI as the most sought after investigating agency for investigation of all sorts of crimes and is relegating the state police to the mere level of Home Guards,” the panel said.
It said that the jurisdiction and powers of CBI have widened and deepened and have far exceeded than what was contemplated under the Delhi Special Police Establishment (DSPE) Act, 1946, the law that governs the agency’s working.
The committee feels that there is a need to revisit DSPE Act, 1946 which was enacted for the limited purpose of dealing with corruption cases, the report said.
“The Committee is of the opinion that DSPE Act, 1946 may be repealed and suitable provisions incorporated in the Lokpal and Lokayuktas Act, 2013 to set up a unified architecture for the purpose,” it said.
The panel has also recommended integrating Central Vigilance Commission and anti-corruption wing of the CBI to work directly under the command and control of Lokpal to deal with corruption cases.
The committee feels that with setting up of such an institution of Lokpal there should be no occasion in cases under Prevention of Corruption Act, 1988 for the judiciary to issue directions to CBI and to monitor the progress of investigation which is essentially the job of a magistrate or a lowest rung of criminal court, it said.
“In the proposed set up, the Lokpal would have sufficient powers to monitor the investigation being carried out by its agencies as the agencies would only be its organs.
“For other type of cases now being conducted by the CBI, a separate legislation may be brought and a new agency created for those purposes. This new agency may use the existing infrastructure, personnel, etc of CBI,” the report said