SC Ruling: CBI’s Authority in Pre-2014 Cases

SC Ruling: CBI's Authority in Pre-2014 Cases

CBI does not require permission to probe pre-2014 cases too: SC


On Monday, a Constitution Bench ruled that the Supreme Court’s 2014 decision invalidating the need that the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) to obtain prior authorization before looking into corruption allegations involving high government officials had a retrospective effect.

What is the Delhi Special Police Establishment (DSPE) Act?

  • In 1946, the Delhi Special Police Establishment (DSPE) Act was adopted. A special police force was constituted in Delhi by the legislation to look into specific offences in the Union territory. The DSPE Act gives the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) its authority. In 1941, the CBI was created to oversee domestic security.
  • According to the DSPE Act, the CBI must request authorization from state governments before conducting an investigation into a crime in a particular state. The Central Government has the authority to designate the offences that the Delhi Special Police Establishment should look into.
  • The Central Government needed an agency to look into employee bribery and corruption, therefore the DSPE Act was put into effect in 1946.

What is section 6(A) of the DSPE Act?

  • The Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) is required by Section 6A of the Delhi Special Police Establishment (DSPE) Act of 1946 to acquire prior government approval before investigating any cases of corruption involving officers with the level of joint secretary or higher.
  •  Any inquiry or investigation into a violation of the 1988 Prevention of Corruption Act (PC Act) must have approval. When a person is detained immediately for accepting or attempting to take gratification other than legal compensation, consent is not necessary.
  • According to the Supreme Court, Section 6A of the DSPE Act is not effective as of the day it was inserted. This means that the provision granting immunity from arrest to officers of the level of joint secretary and above has been struck down.

What is the Retrospective Effect of removing section 6(A)?

  • The Supreme Court’s 2014 decision rejecting Section 6A of the DSPE Act has a retrospective impact, according to the Constitution Bench.
  • As a result, Section 6A of the legislation, which mandated prior approval for the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) to look into corruption allegations involving high government officials, is regarded as null and void as of the day it was enacted, or September 11, 2003.

What was the validity of Section 6A and the impact on Fundamental Rights?

  • In 2014, the Supreme Court ruled that Section 6A of the DSPE Act was unconstitutional.
  • The most recent verdict reiterates this ruling by highlighting the fact that Section 6A violated fundamental rights and was unlawful ab initio, which means it was never valid in the first place.
  • The Indian Constitution’s Part-III, in particular, places a strong emphasis on fundamental rights, which the Constitution Bench emphasized must be upheld.
  • A law is deemed to be unenforceable and nonexistent when it is ruled to have violated fundamental rights. This emphasizes how important it is to safeguard fundamental rights inside the law.

How is the equality seen before the law in respect to Section 6(A)?

  • The ruling made it clear that Section 6A of the DSPE Act is not affected by Article 20(1) of the Constitution, which states that a person can only be punished under a law that was in effect at the time of the offence.
  • In other words, as Article 20(1) relates to many legal issues, the retroactive effect of this decision does not violate it.
  • The rule of equality before the law was highlighted in the 2014 Supreme Court decision that initially found Section 6A unlawful.
  • It emphasized that corruption is bad for the country and that government employees shouldn’t be exempt from the rule of law because of their level or position.
  • The ruling made clear that corrupt officers should not be classified into distinct categories because they are all subject to the same procedure of inquiry and investigation.


In conclusion, the most recent Supreme Court ruling has retroactively confirmed the unconstitutionality of Section 6A of the DSPE Act. Senior government officials implicated in corruption cases before the 2014 verdict can no longer rely on this provision to shield them. The ruling emphasizes how crucial it is to protect fundamental rights and equality before the law while battling governmental misconduct.