The Supreme Court on Wednesday dismissed a petition by former Maharashtra Home Minister Anil Deshmukh challenging a Bombay High Court judgment which refused to quash the Central Bureau of Investigation FIR in the corruption case registered over allegations of ex-Mumbai police commissioner Param Bir Singh.
A Bench of Justices DY Chandrachud and MR Shah heard arguments by both Deshmukh and CBI at length before dismissing the plea observing that no case was made out for interference under Article 136 of the Constitution of India and there was no error in the judgment of the High Court.
Counsel for the petitioner Senior Advocate Amit Desai submitted that the jurisdiction of the CBI to investigate in a State can only be exercised with the prior consent of the State.
The petitioners relied on the judgement in Lalita Kumari vs. Government of UP to support their case.
Further, great emphasis was made to the bar laid down by Section 17A of the Prevention of Corruption Act. It was submitted that the CBI cannot register an FIR since Section 17A precludes a police officer from conducting any enquiry into an offence allegedly committed by a public servant without previous approval from a competent authority.
On the other hand the Additional Solicitor General Aman Lekhi argued that the inquiry was based on High Court order and that no statutory enactment can exclude or curtail the power of a constitutional court.
"The Constitutional Court's powers are plenary. It decides its own jurisdiction and to say this power is limited in anyway disregards the very nature of a constitutional court."
Lekhi also submitted the High Court through its order provided for an extra layer of protection to the accused in this case.
He explained that despite a prima facie case of a cognizable offence being made out and the Attorney General acknowledging the same, the High Court ordered a preliminary enquiry to ensure protection of the public servant.
Earlier today, the Bench led by Justice DY Chandrachud had dismissed Maharashtra government's plea against CBI probe into transfers, postings of police officers by former Home Minister Anil Deshmukh.