20 April, 2021

Yes, They Can

States have the right to refuse entry to the CBI

Photograph by Jitender Gupta
Yes, They Can

Maharashtra government’s decision to withdraw “general consent” to a CBI investigation on October 21, with the state’s home minister accusing the central agency of being politicised, was not the first such instance. Karnataka CMs Devraj Urs and J.H. Patel had withdrawn consent in 1978 and 1998, respectively. The largest number of such withdrawals of consent has been under the NDA since 2014: Andhra Pradesh and West Bengal in 2018, Chhattisgarh in 2019 and Rajasthan in 2020. Now Kerala is also considering it. Is this legal? Yes.

First, some history. The philoso­phy of the Indian Police was radically altered by the 1860 Police Commission after the 1857 uprising, leading to the 1861 Indian Police Act. It abolished the hated military police in some states and introduced a civil police system, legally supervised by civil magistrates. Police administration was, however, under the State Inspector General. District jurisdiction was the basis on which police powers were conferred. The commission did not want any central investigative police department....

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