High courts can order CBI probe: SC

High courts can order CBI probe: SC

New Delhi: The Supreme Court (SC) has held that high courts can direct the country’s top investigative agency to probe cases without the consent of state governments.

A five-judge bench of the apex court, however, said on Wednesday that courts would have to exercise such powers cautiously.

The verdict came on a bunch of petitions by the West Bengal government, which contended that the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) could conduct a probe only with the consent of the state governments.

The West Bengal government had taken exception to a Calcutta high court order for a CBI probe into firing incidents in Midnapore in 2001, when several Trinamool Congress workers were killed.

Prashant Bhushan, an SC advocate, said since the ruling has come from a five-judge Constitution bench, it has settled the question whether courts have the power to order CBI probes for enforcement of fundamental rights. The only problem is that the Union government still retains administrative control over CBI, which puts a question mark on its credibility, Bhushan added.