The Supreme Court on Friday agreed to hear CBI’s plea challenging the Gauhati High Court order declaring the agency as “unconstitutional”.

A bench headed by Chief Justice P. Sathasivam issued notice on CBI’s plea to the petitioner on whose plea the high court had delivered the verdict and asked him to file his response within four weeks.

The bench tagged the petition along with a plea which was earlier filed by Department of Personnel and Training (DoPT) challenging the November 6 verdict of the High Court.

The apex court had earlier on November 9 stayed the operation of Gauhati High Court verdict declaring the agency as “unconstitutional”, saying accused in “sensational cases” have sought halting of criminal proceedings based on that judgement.

An urgent petition was filed by the DoPT, the nodal ministry for CBI, before a bench headed by the CJI which had heard the appeal at an extraordinary hearing at his residence.

The bench had rejected objections raised by the counsel for Navendra Kumar, on whose petition the high court had passed the verdict, that DoPT was not authorised to file the Special Leave Petition as it was not a party in the high court.

It had also rejected the arguments of Mr. Kumar’s counsel that the Centre’s plea was a “collusive petition” as, instead of the CBI and the Ministry of Home Affairs, it has been filed by the DoPT which was not a party in the high court.

A division bench of Gauhati High Court had on November 6 quashed the April 1, 1963 Resolution constituting CBI under the Delhi Special Police Establishment (DSPE) Act, 1946 and declared all its actions unconstitutional.

It had passed the verdict on a writ petition filed by Kumar challenging an order by a single judge of the High Court in 2007 on the resolution through which CBI was set up.

The bench had earlier said that DoPT was an appropriate department and the CBI will file a separate appeal while taking note of Attorney General G E Vahanvati’s submission that CBI and the Ministry of Home will file their separate appeals.

The Attorney General, while questioning the finding of the high court, had said the judgement was based on wrong questions and presumptions that led to a wrong conclusion.

The Attorney General had said the reasoning given by the high court is unacceptable. It was a total misunderstanding of the principle of administrative law, he had said.

He had said the high court’s reasoning that the DSPE Act is not applicable to the CBI is a “convoluted logic”.

Vahanvati had said thousands of cases are pending. “I am told there are 9,000 cases pending and there are 6,000 people in the CBI.”

The high court order had virtually crippled the agency from performing its investigating and prosecuting functions in thousands of cases across the country.

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