Party’s plan to move high court need not yield the desired result as courts rarely order an investigation by CBI, an independent agency

The Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) has given its final words of rejection to probe the T.P. Chandrasekharan murder case. The premier investigating agency has sent a report to the Ministry of Personnel saying that it saw no role in the case as the matter had already been investigated by the local police.

“We have decided to not take up the case. Our decision is based on the same reasons we gave in March. The local police have already probed the case and some persons have been convicted after a trial. In this scenario, we have no role,” Kanchan Prasad, CBI spokesperson, told The Hindu over the phone from New Delhi on Sunday.

To move HC

With the CBI saying no to a probe, the RMP has decided to approach the Kerala High Court. “This decision of the CBI, we believe, was taken to appease its political masters. We will move the High Court,” N. Venu, RMP State secretary said on Sunday.

Judicial precedents show that though approaching a constitutional court is a legally sound move, it will be a tough one to follow. For one, constitutional courts sparingly use its sweeping judicial powers to order further or fresh investigation by the CBI, an independent agency. In the Supreme Court’s judgment on Shangoo Ram Arya versus Chief Secretary in 2002, the apex court ruled that high courts should order a CBI probe only if it is absolutely convinced that a prima facie case for investigation by CBI exists. 

But instances of a high court or Supreme Court ordering a CBI probe are few. In cases like State of West Bengal and Others versus Committee for Protection of Democratic Rights of 2010 and the litigation involving the 2G scam accused, Shahid Balwa v. Union of India, the apex court has ruled that courts “ordinarily do not interfere in the matters of investigation by police, particularly, when the facts and circumstances do not indicate that the investigating officer is not functioning bona fide”. 

To convince the High Court that there is room for further or de novo investigation into the case, Chadrasekharan’s widow, Rema, has to submit separate and subsequent evidence not revealed in the earlier investigation or trial in which 12 persons were convicted for the murder.