ANI Photo | SC declines urgent listing of West Bengal’s suit against CBI probe

The Supreme Court on Wednesday declined the urgent listing of a lawsuit filed by the West Bengal government, alleging that the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) was pressing ahead with an investigation into the post-poll violence cases in the State without securing its nod as per the law.
A bench of Chief Justice of India DY Chandrachud and Justices JB Pardiwala and Manoj Misra was told by senior advocate Kapil Sibal that the matter has been adjourned nine times.
Sibal, appearing for the West Bengal government, told the bench that the matter is listed before a bench headed by Justice BR Gavai and urged the top court if it could be heard urgently.
The CJI while refusing to pass the order said, “I am not in charge of the matter. You go before that bench. They will take a call. We are not passing any orders.”
Solicitor General Tushar Mehta appearing for the Centre said there is no urgency and the matter can wait for a few days. To this, Sibal replied, “It cannot. The suit was filed in 2021 and we are in 2024.”
The West Bengal government has filed an original suit in the apex court against the Centre under Article 131 of the Constitution, alleging that the CBI has been filing FIRs and proceeding with its investigation, despite the State having withdrawn the general consent to the federal agency to investigate cases within its territorial jurisdiction.
Article 131 empowers a State to move the Supreme Court directly in case of a dispute with the Centre or any other State.
On November 16, 2018, the West Bengal government withdrew the “general consent” accorded to the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) to conduct probe and raids in the state.
The West Bengal government in its suit while referring to provisions of the Delhi Special Police Establishment Act 1946 said that the CBI has been proceeding with the investigation and filing FIRs without getting consent from the State government as mandated under the statute.
The State government had sought a stay of investigation in an FIR by the CBI in cases of post-poll violence in West Bengal in pursuance of the Calcutta High Court order.
It said that as the general consent given to the central agency by the Trinamool Congress government has been withdrawn, the FIRs lodged cannot be proceeded with.
Earlier, the Centre had told the top court that it has nothing to do with the post-poll violence cases registered by the CBI in West Bengal and the lawsuit filed by the State government in which the Union of India is made a party is not maintainable.
The Centre had stated that CBI being an autonomous body set up under the special Act of Parliament is the agency that is registering and investigating cases and the Centre had no role in it.
In its affidavit, the Centre had stated that West Bengal’s power to withhold consent to the CBI is not absolute and the probe agency is entitled to carry out investigations that are being conducted against the central government employees or have a pan-India impact

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