5. All the Intelligence and enforcement agencies under the Government like the Intelligence Bureau, the CBI and various bodies functioning under the Department of Revenue shall forthwith report to the Home Secretary whenever substantive information/evidence of collusion of officials/politicians with criminal syndicates comes to their knowledge in the course of their working. The Group shall meet periodically to decide upon the action required to be taken and identify an agency or agencies to take up further investigations. The Nodal Group would also review the information in the above context already available with the various agencies and decide upon the follow up action that is required to be taken.
6. This issues with the approval of Home Minister." Report of IRC
The IRC has in its report accepted the legality of the Single Directive placing reliance on the decision of this Court in K. Veeraswami (supra). After considering the functions of the CBI and the Directorate of Enforcement, it has made certain recommendations which are as under :- "MEASURES FOR SPEEDY INVESTIGATIONS AND TRIALS 4.1 The Committee recommends that the following measures should be taken to ensure speedy investigations and trials : a) Special Courts should be got established at identified stations to deal exclusively with FERA offences so that cases ca be decided speedily.
b) To ensure against delays in investigations abroad, the Revenue Secretary should be the competent authority to approve filing of applications for Letters Rogatory. c) The Directorate of Enforcement should be delegated powers to appoint special counsels for conducting trials, who may also act as legal advisers for the Department in respect of the cases entrusted to them. d) In many of the major cases of the Directorate, the suspects have been able to abuse the process of law by stalling the investigations at the initial stages through litigation at various levels, obtaining stay orders from High Courts and injunctions on flimsy grounds. In consultation with the Attorney General, the Revenue Department may examine the possibility of making a representation to the Apex Court to consider issuing appropriate directions so that the pace and progress of cases is not thwarted by interlocutory procedures or stay orders issued by the Courts below. e) Taking into account the instances in which suspected persons have been able to stall investigations on alleged health grounds, the Revenue Department should approach the Ministry of Health to establish standing medical boards in identified cities to examine such persons. Such boards should comprise outstanding medical experts of unimpeachable integrity. The Courts can be requested to refer the prayer of the accused for staying proceedings on health grounds to such medical boards before passing judgement."
"CHECKS AND BALANCES
5.1 The Directorate must be provided adequate financial and administrative delegations to enable it to exercise autonomy in the conduct and pursuit of investigations without let or hindrance. Side by side, it is necessary to provide appropriate checks and balances to ensure against miscarriage of justice. In this context, the Committee recommends the following :
a) The Revenue Department should undertake regular review of the progress of cases before the Directorate. To enable this, the Directorate should regularly furnish information regarding the number of cases instituted, progress of investigations, cases settled in adjudication and those put to Courts. The Committee note that while such information is already being supplied in reply to Parliament Questions, information to be placed before the Parliamentary Committee/Standing Committee, etc., there is no established procedure for the Directorate to furnish relevant information in well devised format. b) The present system of the Directorate furnishing fortnightly reports providing statistical information and brief outline of the cases taken up for investigation should be further fine tuned. These reports should be carefully examined by the Revenue Department to ensure that the Directorate is performing its functions officiently. The Revenue Secretary should hold regular review meetings with the Director Enforcement, also involving the Director Revenue Intelligence and other concerned officers. c) Guidelines relating to interrogation, prosecution, adjudication, time frame for completion of investigation, etc., have been issued by the Directorate from time to time. These guidelines should be comprehensively reviewed and, based thereon, a circular should be released for the information of the public at large, to enable all concerned to know the systems and procedures followed by the Directorate. This shall contribute to greater transparency. This effort should be concluded within 2-3 months. 5.2 It is importance that the Directorate lays down a clearly spelt out time frame for the completion of investigation, launching of prosecution and completion of adjudication proceedings and for the Director to ensure that the prescribed time limits are strictly adhered to. The Committee are of the view that the Directorate would be able to more efficiently discharge its functions if immediate steps are taken to upgrade the level and quality of its in- house legal advice mechanism. At our request, the Cabinet Secretary convened a meeting with the Revenue Department, Enforcement Directorate and other concerned officers to consider various proposals for strengthening the Directorate. The Committee hope that the various decisions taken at t he Cabinet Secretary's level shall witness implementation within 6-8 weeks.
5.3 The Committee recommends that the Directorate should take time bound steps to establish a grievances redressal mechanism to promptly deal with complaints received from he public against actions of the Enforcement Directorate. Insofar as complaints of arbitrary action by senior officers of the Directorate are concerned, the Committee recommends that these should b e looked into by a Committee headed by the Central Vigilance Commissioner and comprising Revenue Secretary, Director General Revenue Intelligence, Enforcement Director and a senior representative of the Ministry of Law.
5.4 As regards the pursuit of cases which appear to have a politico-beaurocrai-criminal nexus, the Home Secretary agreed with the Committees suggestion that the Nodal Agency in the Home Ministry (chaired by Home Secretary) shall also include Member (Investigation) of the Central Board Of Direct Taxes, Director General Revenue Intelligence and the Director Enforcement as members.
5.5 The Committee recommends that the Annual Report of the Department of Revenue should have a section devoted exclusively to the functioning of the Enforcement Directorate. This report should highlight the number of cases taken up for investigation by ED, raids and searches conducted, amount of Indian and foreign currency seized, etc. The report should also indicate the number of persons arrested, prosecutions launched and convictions ordered by the Courts. The Committee feels that enhanced public knowledge about the work being done by the Directorate shall demystify its operations and contribute to improved public confidence."
"SUMMARY OF RECOMMENDATIONS
I. CBI AND CVC
1. CVC to be conferred statutory status; appointment of Central Vigilance Commissioner to be made under the hand and seal of the President (paper 4.2)
2. Constitution of a Committee for selection of cvc (paper 4.3)
3. CVC to overview CBI'S functioning (para 5)
4. CBI's reporting to Government to be streamlined without diluting its functional autonomy (para 3.3)
5. CVC to have a separate section in its Annual Report on the CBI's functioning after the supervisory functioning transferred to it (para 6)
6. Constitution of a Selection Committee for identifying a panel of names for selection of Director CBI; final selection to be made by ACC from such panel (para 3.2)
7. Central Government to pursue with the State Governments to set up credible mechanism for selection of Police Chief (para 8.3)
8. Director CBI TO Have a minimum tenure of 2 years (para 8.4)
9. Transfer of incumbent Director CBI would need endorsement of the Selection Committee(para 8.5)
10. Director CBI to ensure full freedom for allocation or work within the Agency, including constitution of investigation teams(para 8.6)
11. Selection/extension of tenure of officers upto to the level of Joint Director (JD) to be decided by a Board under Central Vigilance Commissioner; JD and above would need the approval of ACC(para 8.7)
12. Change in the existing Tenure Rules not recommended (para 8.8)
13. Proposals for improvement of infrastructure, methods of investigation, etc., to be decided urgently (para 8.9.2)
14. No need for creation of a permanent core group in the CBI (para 8.9.3)
15. Severe disciplinary action against officers who deviate from prescribed investigation procedures (para 9.1)
16. Director CBI to be responsible for ensuring time limits for filing charge sheets in courts (para 9.2)
17. Document on CBI's functioning to be published within three months (para 9.4)
18. Essential to protect officers at the decision making levels from vexatious enquiries/prosecutions (para 10.6)
19. Secretaries to adhere strictly to prescribed time frames for grant of permission for registration of PE/RC. CBI to be free to proceed if decision not conveyed within the specified time (para 10.9)
20. Secretary of Administrative Ministry to convey a decision regarding registration of PE/RC within 2 months of receipt of request. If not satisfied with decision, Director CBI free to make fresh reference to the Committee headed by Cabinet Secretary within a period of four weeks and the latter to decide thereon within a period of four weeks (para 10,10)
21. Protection under the Single Directive not to cover offences like bribery, when prima-facic established in a successful trap (para 10.12)
22. Cases of disproportionate assets of Central Government and All India Services Officers to be brought within the ambit of the Single Directive (para 10.13)
23. Time limit of 3 months for sanction for prosecution. Where consultation is required with the Attorney General or the Solicitor General, additional time of one month could be allowed (paras 10.14 and 10.15)
24. Government to undertake a review of the various types of offences notified for investigation by the CBI to retain focus on anti-corruption activities which is its primary objective (para 11.1)
25. Cases falling within the jurisdiction of the State Police which do not have inter-state or inter-national ramification should not be handed over to CBI by States/Courts (para 11.2)
26. Government to establish Special Courts for the trial of CBI cases (11.3)
27. Severe action against officials found guilty of high handedness; prompt action against those officials chastised by the Courts (para 11.4)
28. Director CBI to conduct regular appraisal of personnel to weed out the corrupt an inefficient, and maintain strict discipline within the organisation (para 11.5) II. ENFORCEMENT DIRECTORATE
1. Selection Committee headed by Central Vigilance Commissioner to recommend panel for appointment of Director Enforcement by the ACC (para 2.2)
2. Director Enforcement to have minimum tenure of 2 years. For his premature transfer, the Selection Committee headed by Central Vigilance Commissioner to make suitable recommendations to the ACC (para 2.3)
3. Post of Director Enforcement to be upgraded to that of Additional Secretary/Special Secretary to the Government (para 2.4)
4. Officers of the Enforcement Directorate handling sensitive assignments to be provided adequate security for enabling fearless discharge of their functions (para 2.5)
5. Extension of tenures up to the level of Joint Directors in the Enforcement Directorate to be decided by a Committee headed by Central Vigilance Commissioner (para 2.6)
6. Proposals for foreign visits to conduct investigations to be cleared by the Revenue Secretary and the Financial Adviser (para 2.7)
7. While enjoying full internal autonomy Enforcement Directorate to be made accountable. Responsibility of Government to ensure efficient an impartial functioning (para 3.1)
8. Premature media publicity to be ensured against (para 3.3)
9. Adjudication proccedings/prosecution to be finalised by the Enforcement Directorate within a period of one year (para 3.4)
10. Director Enforcement to monitor speedy completion of investigation and launching of
adjudication/prosecution. Revenue Secretary to review regularly (para 3.4)
11. The Director Enforcement to keep close watch against vexatious search; action against functionaries who act without due care (para 3.5)
12. Special Courts to be established to deal with FERA offences for speedy completion of trials (para 4.1(a))
13. For speedy conduct of investigations abroad, Revenue Secretary be authorised to approve filing of applications for Letters Rogatory (para 4.1(b))
14. The Enforcement Directorate to be delegated powers to appoint Special Counsels for trials (para 4.1@)
15. The Revenue Department to consult Attorney General regarding measures against conclusion of cases being thwarted by stay orders, etc. (para 4.2(d))
16. Revenue Department to approach Health Ministry to establish Standing Medical Boards in identified cities for examination of accused persons seeking determent of proccedings on health grounds (para 4.1(c))
17. Revenue Department to undertake regular reviews of cases pending with the Directorate (para 5.1(a) and (b)).
18. Comprehensive circular to be published by the Directorate to inform public about procedures/systems of its functioning (para 5.2@)
19. In-house legal advice mechanism to be strengthened (para 5.2)
20. Proposals for strengthening the Directorate to be implemented within 8 weeks (para 5.2)
21. Directorate to establish a grievance redressal mechanism (para 5.2)
22. Committee headed by Central Vigilance Commissioner to decide complaints of arbitrary action by Directorate officials (para 5.3)
22. Committee headed by Central Vigilance Commissioner to decide complaints o f arbitrary action by Directorate officials (para 5.3)
23. Nodal Agency headed by Home Secretary on politico- beaurocrat-criminal nexus to include Member Investigation CBDT, Director General Revenue Intelligence and Director Enforcement as members (para 5.4)
24. Annual Report of the Department of Revenue to contain an exhaustive section on the working of the Enforcement Directorate (para 5.5)
25. Suitable incentives to be provided to functionaries of Enforcement Directorate at various levels, to attract best material, to be decided within tow months (para 6.1)
III. NODAL AGENCY ON CRIMINAL NEXUS
1. Requirements of inter-agency do-ordination at fields unit level to be evolved by Home Secretary (para 2.1)
2. Na's functioning to be watched for some time before considering need for structural changes (para 3)
3. Home Secretary will hold meetings of NA every month (para 3)"
The reference to paragraphs within brackets at the end of each recommendation is to the paragraphs of the report containing discussion pertaining to the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) and Directorate of Enforcement in Part II of the report. These recommendations have, therefore, to be read along with the discussion in the corresponding paras in Part I and Part II of the report.
Need for Court's intervention
The IRC is a body constituted by the Central Government itself as a result of its perception that the constitution and functioning of the CBI, CVC and Directorate of Enforcement require a close scrutiny in the background of the recent unsatisfactory functioning of these agencies with a view to improve t heir functioning. The view taken by the IRC is a reaffirmation of this belief shared b y everyone. The preface to the report indicates the reason for the constitution of the IRC and says that "In the past several years, there has been progressive increase in allegation of corruption involving public servants. Understandably, cases of this nature have attracted heightened media and public attention. A general impression appears to have gained ground that the concerned Central investigating agencies are subject to extraneous pressures and have been indulging in dilatory tactics in not bringing the guilty to book. The decisions of higher courts to directly monitor investigations in certain cases have added to the aforesaid belief." There can thus be no doubt that there is need for the exercise we were called upon to perform and which has occasioned consideration of this crucial issue by this Court in exercise of its powers conferred by the Constitution of India. The conclusions reached b y the IRC and the recommendation it has made for improving the functioning and thereby the image of these agencies is a further reaffirmation of this general belief. There can also be no doubt that the conclusions reached by the IRC and its recommendations are the minimum which require immediate acceptance and implementation in a bid to arrest any further decay of the polity. Ii follows that the exercise to be performed now by this Court is really to consider whether any modifications/additions are required to be made to be recommendations of the IRC for achieving the object for which the Central Government itself constituted the Irc. We are informed by the IRC could not be taken so far because of certain practical difficulties faced by the Central Government but there is no negative reaction to the report given by the Central Government.
The only caveat entered by the Attorney General is on the basis of a note by an individual Minister in the Central Cabinet in which emphasis has been laid that the ultimate responsibility for the functioning of these agencies to the Parliament is that of the concerned Minister and this aspect may be dept in mind. It has been specifically mentioned that the Minister would remain the final disciplinary authority and would have the power to refer complaints against the agency or its officers to an appropriate authority for necessary action. There can be no quarrel with the Minister's ultimate responsibility to the Parliament for the functioning of these agencies and he being the final disciplinary authority in respect of the officers of the agency with power to refer complaints against them to the appropriate authority Some other specific powers of the Minister were indicated as under :-
1. The Minister has the power to review the working of the agencies which are under his Department.
2. The Minister has the power to give broad policy directions regarding investigation and prosecution of classes or categories of cases.
3. The Minister has that power to appraise the quality of the work of the Head of the agency as well as other senior officers of the agency.
4. The Minister has the power to call for information regarding progress of cases.
It is sufficient to say that The Minister's general power to review the working of the agency and to give broad policy directions regarding the functioning of the agencies and to appraise the quality of the work of the Head of the agency and other officers to the executive head is in no way to be diluted. Similarly, the Minister's power to call for information generally regarding the cases being handled by the agencies is not to be taken away. However, all the powers of the Minister are subject to the condition that none of them would extend to permit the Minister to interfere with the course of investigation and prosecution in any individual case and in that respect the concerned officers are to be governed entirely by the mandate of law and the statutory duty cast upon them.
It is useful to remember in this context what this Court has no several occasions in the past said about the nature of duty and functions of Policy officers in the investigation of an offence. It is sufficient to refer to one of them, namely, Union of India and Others vs. Sushil Kumar Modi and Others, 1997 (4) SCC 770, (Bihar Fodder Scam case), wherein it was said, as under :- "4. At the outset, we would
indicate that the nature of proceedings before the High Court is somewhat similar to those pending in this Court in Vineet Narain v. Union of India, 1996 (2) SCC 199 and Anukul Chandara Pradhan v. Union of India, 1996 (6) SCC 354 and, therefore, the High Court is required to proceed with the matter in a similar manner. It has to be borne in mind that the purpose of these proceedings in essentially to ensure performance of the statutory duty by the CBI and the other government agencies in accordance with law for the proper implementation of the rule of law. To achieve this object a fair, honest and expeditious investigation into every reasonable accusation against each and every person reasonably suspected of involvement in the alleged offences has to be made strictly in accordance with law. The duty of the Court in such proceedings is, therefore, to ensure that the CBI and other government agencies do their duty and do so strictly in conformity with law. In these proceedings, the Court is not required to go into the merits of the accusation or even to express any opinion thereon, which is a matter for consideration by the competent court in which the charge-sheet is filed and the accused have to face trial. It is, therefore, necessary that not even an observation relating to the merits of t he accusation is made by the Court in these proceedings lest it prejudice the accused at the trial. The nature of these proceeding may be described as that of "continuing mandamus" to require performance of its duty by the CBI and the other government agencies concerned. The agencies concerned must bear in mind and, if needed, be reminded of the caution administered by Lord Denning in this behalf in R.V.. Metropolitan Police Commr., 1968 (1) All ER 763/1968 (@) QB 118. Indicating the duty of the Commissioner of Police, Lord Denning stated thus : (All ER p.769) "I have no hesitation, however, in holding that, like every constable in the land, he should be, and is, independent of the executive. He is not subject to the orders of the Secretary of State,.. I hold it to be the duty of the Commissioner of Policy, AS it is of every chief constable, to enforce the law of the land. He must take steps so to post his men that crimes may be detected; and that honest citizens may go about their affaires in peace. He must decide whether or not suspected persons are to be prosecuted; and, if need be, being the prosecution or see hat it is brought; but in all these things he is not the servant of anyone, save of the law itself. No Minister of the Crown can tell him that he must, or must not, jeep observation on this place or that; or that he must, or must not prosecute this man or that one. Nor can any policy authority tell him so. The responsibility for law enforcement lies on him. He is answerable to the law and to the law alone." The nature of such a proceeding in a court of law was also indicated by Lord Denning, as under : "A question may be raised as to the machinery by which he could be compelled to do his duty. On principle, it seems to me that once a duty exists, there should be a means of enforcing it. This duty can be enforced. I think, either by action at the suit of the Attorney General; or by the prerogative order of mandamus. (emphasis supplied) There can hardly be any doubt that the obligation of the police in our constitutional scheme is no less. 5. According to the Code of Criminal Procedure, 1973 the formation of the opinion as to whether or not here is a case to place the accused for trial is that of the police officer making the investigation and the final step in the investigation is to be taken only by the police and by no other authority, see Abhinandan Jha v. Dinesh Mishra, 1967 (3)SCR 668. This must be borne in mind as also that the scope and purpose of a proceeding like the present is to ensure a proper and faithful performance of its duty by the police officer by resort to the prerogative writ of mandamus."
The Minister's power in these matters has, therefore, to be understood as circumscribed by these limitations under the law.
History of CBI
It is useful to refer at this stage to the history of the CBI. The Special Police Establishment was formed during the World War II when large sums of public money were being spent in connection with the War and there arise enormous potential for corruption amongst the officers dealing with the supplies. An executive order was made by the Government of India in 1941 setting up the Special Police Establishment (SPE) under a DIG in the then Department of War. The need for a central government agency to investigate c ases of bribery and corruption by the Central Government servants continued and, therefore, the Delhi Special Policy Establishment act was brought into force in 1946. Under this Act, the superintendence of the Special Police Establishment was transferred to the Home Department and its function were enlarged to cover all departments of the Government of India. The jurisdiction of the SPE extended to all the Union Territories and could also be extended to the States with the consent of the concerned State Governments. Then the SPE was put under the charge of Director, Intelligence Bureau. Later in 1948 a post of Inspector General of Police, SPE was created and the organisation was placed under his charge. The Central Bureau of Investigation was established on 1.4.1963 vide Government of India's Resolution No, 4/31/61- T/MHA. This was done to meet the felt need of having a central police agency at the disposal of the Central Government to investigate into cases not only of bribery and corruption but also those relating to the breach of central fiscal laws, frauds in government departments and PSUs and other serious crimes. On enlargement of the role of CBI an Economic Offences Wing was added to the existing Divisions of the CBI. In 1887 tow Divisions were created in the CBI known as Anti-Corruption Division and Special Crimes Division, the latter dealing with cases of conventional crimes besides economic offences. In 1994 due to increased workload relating to bank frauds and economic offences a separate Economic Offences Wing was established in CBI with the result that since then the CBI has three Investigation Divisions, namely, Anti-Corruption Division, Special Crimes Division and Economic Offences Division. Further particulars thereof are not necessary in the present context. We are informed that almost all the State Governments have given concurrence for extension of the jurisdiction of the Delhi Special Police Establishment in their States with the exception of only a few. The result is that for all practical purposes, he jurisdiction in respect of all such offences is exercised in the consenting States only by the CBI and not by the State Police. This is the significance of the role of the CBI in such matters and, therefor, technically the additional jurisdiction under the general law of the State Police in.
these matters is of no practical relevance. The pragmatic effect of the single Directive is, therefore, to inhibit investigation against the specified category of officers without sanction in accordance with the Single Directive. Validity of directive No.4.7(3) of the Single Directive We may now refer to the two decisions on which specific reliance has been placed by the learned Attorney General before us as well as the IRC in its report. The decision in J.A.C. Saldanha (supra) is on Section 3 of the Police, Act 1861 and deals with the ambit and scope of State Governments power of `superintendence' thereunder. It was held in J.A.C. Saldanha (supra) that the power of superintendence of the State Government includes its power to direct further investigation under Section 173 (8) Cr.P.C.. That was a case in which there was occasion to require further investigation because of the unsatisfactory nature of the investigation done earlier of a cognizable offence. Thus, in that case the power of superintendence was exercised for directing further investigation to complete an unsatisfactory investigation of a cognizable offence to promote the cause of justice and not to subvert it by preventing investigation. In our opinion, in the present context, that decision has no application to support the issuance of the Single directive in exercise foe of the of superintendence, since the effect of the Single Directive might thwart investigation of a cognizable offence and not to promote the cause of justice by directing further investigation leading to a prosecution. The other decision of this court is in K. Veeraswami (supra). That was a decision in which the majority held that the prevention of Corruption Act applies even to the Judges of the High court and the Supreme Court, After taking that view, it was said by the majority (per Shetty, J.) that in order to protect the independence of judiciary, it was essential that no criminal case shall be registered under Section 154 Cr.P.C. against a Judge of the High Court or of the Supreme court unless the Chief Justice of India is consulted and he assents to such an action being taken. The Learned Attorney General contended that this decision is an authority for the proposition that in case of high officials, the requirement of prior permission/sanction from a higher officer or Hear of the Department is permissible and necessary to save the concerned officer from harassment cause by a malicious or vexatious prosecution. we are unable to accept this submission.
The position of Judges of High Courts and Supreme Court, who are constitutional functionaries, is distinct, and the independence of judiciary, keeping it free from any extraneous influence, including that from executive, is the rationale of the decision in K. Veeraswami (supra). In strict terms the Prevention of Corruption Act, 1946 could not be applied to the superior Judges and, therefore, while bringing those Judges within the purview of the Act yet maintaining the independence of judiciary, this guideline was issued as a direction but the Court. The feature of independence of judiciary has no application to the officers covered by the single directive, The need for independence of judiciary from the directive influence does not arise in the case of officers belonging to the executive. we have no doubt that the decision in K. Veeraswami (supra) has no application to the wide proposition advanced by the learned Attorney General to support the single Directive. For the same reason, reliance on that decision by the IRC to uphold the Single Directive is misplaced.
The question, however, is whether, without the aid of these decisions, the Single Directive can be upheld., In this context, meaning of the word "superintendence" in Section 4(1) of the Delhi Special Police establishment Act, 1946 requires consideration.
The Delhi special police Establishment Act, 1946 is an Act to make provision for the constitution of a special police force in Delhi for the investigation of certain offences in the Union Territories for the superintendence and administration of the said force and for the extension to other areas of the powers and jurisdiction of members of the said force in retard to the investigation of the said offences, Section 6 of the Act requires consent of the state government to exercise powers and jurisdiction under the Act by the Delhi special police establishment. This is because Police' is a State subject, being in List Li, entry 2 of the seventh Schedule; For this reason, the learned Attorney general contended that the power and jurisdiction of the state police in respect of an offence within its jurisdiction remains intact and is not inhibited by the Single Directive; and that the CBI alone is inhibited thereby. Section 2 of the act deals with constitution and powers of the Special Police Establishment (SPE). This is how the CBI has been constituted. Section 3 provides for offences to be investigated by the SPE and says that the offences or class of offences to be investigated by the agency may be specified by notification in the Official Gazette by the Central government.
Section 3 of the Police act, 1861 is in pari materia with Section 4 of the Delhi Special Police Establishment act 1946. These sections read as under:-
Section 3 of the Police act, 1861:
"3. Superintendence in the state Government:- The superintendence of the police throughout a general police district shall vest in and shall be exercised by the State government to which such district is subordinate, and except as authorised under the provisions of this Act, no person, officer or court shall be empowered by the State government to supersede or control any police functionary. Sections 3 and 4 of the Delhi Special Police establishment Act, 1946: "Offences to be investigated by S.P.E. 3. the Central government may beat notification in the Official gazette specify the offences or classes of offences which are to be investigate by the Delhi Special Police establishment. Superintendence & Administration of S.P.E. 4(1) The Superintend of the Delhi Special Police Establishment shall vest in the Central Government. (2) the administration of the said police establishment shall vest in an officer appointed in this behalf by the central Government who shall exercise in respect of that police establishment such of the powers exercisable by an Inspector general of Police in respect of the police force in a state, as the Central Government may specify in this behalf"
The meaning of the word "superintendence" in Section 4(1) of the Delhi special police Act, 1946 determines the scope of the authority of the Central Government in this context.
There can be no doubt that the overall administration of the said face, i.e. CBI vests in the Central Government, which also includes, by the virtue of Section 3, the power to specify the offences or class of offences which are to be investigated by it. The general superintendence over the functioning of the department and specification of the offences which are to be investigated by the agency is not the same as and would not include within it the control of the intiation and the actual process of investigation, i.e., direction. Once the CBI is empowered to investigate an offence generally by its specification under Section 3, the process of investigation, including its initiation, is to be governed by the statutory provision which provide for the initiation and manner of investigation the offence. This is not an area which can be included within the meaning of "superintendence" in section 4(1).
It is, therefore, the notification made by the Central Government under Section 3 which confers and determines the jurisdiction of the CBI to investigate an offence; and once that jurisdiction is attracted by virtue of the notification under Section 3, the actual investigation to be governed by the statutory provisions under the general law applicable to such investigation. This appears to us the proper construction of section 4(1) in the context, and it is in harmony with the scheme of the Act, and section 3 in particular. the word "superintendence" in section 4(1) cannot be constructed in a winder sense to permit supervision of the actual investigation of an offence by the CBI contrary to the manner roved by the statutory provisions., The board proportion urged on behalf of the Union of India that it can issue any directive to the CBI to curtail or inhibit its jurisdiction to investigate an offence specified in the notification issued under section 3 by a directive under section 4(1) of three Act cannot be accepted, The jurisdiction of the 4 CBI to investigate an offence is to be determined with reference to the notification issued under Section any not by any separate order not having that character
This view does not conflict with the decision in J.A.C. Saldanha (supra) as earlier indicated. In Saldanha, the question was whether an unsatisfactory investigation already made could be undertaken by another officer for further investigation of the offence so that the offence was properly investigated as required by law, and it was not to prevent the investigation or an offence. The single Directive has the effect of restraining reforming of AIR and initiation of investigation and not of preceding with investigation, as in Saldanha, No authority to permit control of salutary powers exercised by the police to investigation an offence within its jurisdiction has been cited before us except. K.Veeraswami which we have already distinguished. The view we take accords not only with reason but also with the gunnery purpose of the law and is in consonance with the basic tenet of the rule of law. Once the Jurisdiction is conferred on the CBI top investigate an offence by virtue of notification under Section 3 of the Act, the powers of investigation are governed by the statuary provisions and they cannot be estopped or curtailed by any executive instruction issued under Section 3(1) thereof. This result follows from the fact that conferment of jurisdiction is under section 3 of the Act and exercise of powers of investigation is by virtue of the statuary provisions covering investigation offences. it is settled that statutory jurisdiction cannot be subject to execute control
There is no similarity between a mere executive order requiring prior permission sanctions investigation of the offence and sanction needed under the stature for prosecution. The requirement of sanction for prosecution being provided in the very statue which enacts the offence, the sanction for prosecution is a pre-requisite for the court to take connivance of the offence. In the absence of any statutory requirement of prior permission or sanction for investigation, it cannot be imposed as a condition precedent for institution of the investigation once jurisdiction is conferred on the CBI to investigate the offence by virtue of the notification under section 3 of the Act. The word "superintendence" in section 4(1) of the Act in the context must be construct in a manner consistent with the other provisions of the Act and the general statutory powers of investigation which given investigation even by the CBI. The necessity of previous sanction for prosecution is provided in Section 6 of the Prevention of Corruption Act, 1947 (Section 19 of the 1988 Act) without which no court can take consistence of an offence punishable under Section 5 of that Act. There is no such previous sanction for investigation provided for either in the Prevention of Corruption Act or the Delhi Special Police establishment Act or in any other statutory provision. The above is the only manner ii which Section 4(1) of the Act can in harmonised with Section 3 and the other statutory provisions. The Single Directive has to be examined in this background. The law does not classify offenders differently for treatment thereunder, including investigation of offences and persecution for offences. according to their status in life. Every person accused of committing the same offences is to be dealt with in the same manner in accordance with law, which is equal in its application to everyone. The Single Directive is applicable only to certain p(person above the specified level who are described as "decision making officers". The question is whether any distinction can be made for them for the purpose of investigation of an offence of which they are accused. Obviously, where the accusation of corruption is based on direct evidence and it does not require any inference to be drawn depend on the decision making process, there is no rational basic to classify them differently. In other words, if the accusation be of bribery which is supported by direct evidence of acceptance of illegal gratification by them, including strap cases, it is obvious that no other factor is relevant and the level or status of the offender is irrelevant. It is for this reason that it was conceded that such cases, i.e., if bribery, including trap cases, are outside the scope of the Single Directive. After some debate at the bar, no serious attempt was made by the learned Attorney General to support inclusion within the Single Directive of cases in which the offender is alleged to be in possession of disproportionate assets. It is clear that the accusation of possession of disproportionate assists by a person is also based on direct evidence and no factor pertaining to the exercise of decision making is involved therein. We have, therefore, no doubt that the Single directive cannot include within its ambit cases of possession of disproportionate assists by the offender. The question new is only with regard to cases other than those of bribery, including trap cases, and of possession of disproportioned assists being covered by the Single Directive
There may be other cases where the accusation cannot be supported by direct evidence and is a matter of inference of corrupt motive for the decision, with nothing to prove directly any illegal gain to the decision maker. Those are cases in which the inference drawn is that the decision mus have been made for a corrupt motive because the decision could not have been reached otherwise by an officer at that level in the hierarchy. This is, therefore, an area where the opinion of persons with requisite expertise in decision making of that kind is relevant, and may be even decisive in reaching the conclusion whether allegation requires any investigation to be made. In view of the fact that the CBI of the Police force does not have the expertise within fold for the formation of the requisition opinion in such cases, the need for the inclusion of such a mechanism comprising of experts in the field as a part of the infrastructure of the CBI is obvious, to decide whether the accusation made discloses grounds for a reasonable suspicion of the commission of an offence and it requires investigation. In the absence of any such mechanism within the infrastructure of the CBI, comprising of experts in the field who can evaluate the material for the decision to be made, introduction therein of a body of experts having expertise of the kind of business which requires the division to be made, can be appreciated. But then, the final opinion is to be of the CBI with the aid of that advice and not that of anyone else. It would be more appropriate to have such a body within the infrastructure of the CBI itself. The Single Directive cannot, therefore, be uphold as valid on the ground to it being permissible in exercise of the power of superintendence of the Central Government under Section 4(1) Act. The matter now to be considered de hors hors the Single Directive.