Notice to government on plea to shield CBI against influence (Lead)

December 14th, 2011 - 9:03 pm ICT by IANS  

New Delhi, Dec 14 (IANS) The Delhi High Court Wednesday issued notice to the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI), the Central Vigilance Commission (CVC) and the central government on a plea seeking insulation of the probe agency from political influence.

A division bench of Acting Chief Justice A.K. Sikri and Justice Rajiv Sahai Endlaw sought the respondents’ reply within four weeks.

Petitioner Vijay Sai Reddy, 53, a chartered accountant, has challenged the validity of some sections of the Delhi Special Police Establishment (DSPE) Act, 1946, from which the CBI derives its power to investigate.

He said that the reasons behind the petition were the alleged instances of blatant corruption in the higher levels of the government and the deliberate protection afforded to individuals by the central government, such as denying approval for investigation or hampering CBI’s representation for investigation in various courts.

He has sought the court’s direction to strike down sections 4(2), 4A and 6A of the DSPE Act and Section 26 of the Central Vigilance Commission Act, 2003 as being in violation of articles 14 and 21 of constitution dealing with right to equality before law and right to life.

“The purpose of the DSPE was to investigate offences such as cases of bribery and corruption in transactions concerning the war and supply department of the government of India,” said Reddy’s counsel Sidharth Luthra.

Reddy sought that the “institutional integrity” of the CBI, and its continuing autonomy, should be maintained.

Luthra said the central government should not be permitted to use the premier investigating agency as an instrument through which political opponents may be targeted or forced to strike political bargains, as this would lead to a grave miscarriage of justice and attack on the public interest.

Reddy said that the petition was filed for the benefit of public at large as there was a need to revisit the question of the insulation of the CBI from external influence.

“Many of those under investigation by the CBI have been arrested and are not in a position to prefer such a writ petition,” said Luthra.

The court would next hear the case Jan 25, 2012.

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