Supreme Court allowed CBI to investigate by exercising its extraordinary power

Ashutosh Rajput | Hidayatullah National Law University | 21st May 2020

Mohammad Amin v. Union of India [1994 SCC, Suppl. (1) 145]

Facts: 

An incident occurred in July 1991 in the Philbit area of the state of Uttar Pradesh wherein 10 persons were killed on the spot. The said killing occurred due to the encounter between the  Punjab militants and the local police and this incident was reported in the Times of India, on the basis of which Shri R.S. Sodhi filed a writ petition under Article 32 of Constitution of India. He alleged that Article 21 has been infringed. Subsequently, certain local police officers were transferred immediately after they were found out that they were suspected in the said incident, and thereafter, a special committee was laid which was headed by a Judge of Allahabad High Court and the investigation was made by the Officer of the level of Inspector General. The court stated that though the local police are honest and faithful but if they will carry out the investigation then it will lack credibility. And they contended that their right under article 14 and 21 of the Constitution of India gets infringed.

The court entrusted the investigation to CBI and acted in the public interest. The CBI then approached local police authority but they did not receive desired cooperation. The U.P. policed filed a writ petition before the Supreme Court stating that there is destruction of their exclusive power with respect to the Code of Criminal Procedure as the matter has been given to CBI.

Issue: 

Whether the Supreme Court can order CBI to investigate in such circumstances?

Judgment: 

Public interest will be said to have when the fair and impartial investigation is done by an independent authority and articles 14 and 21 cannot be said to have violated. The court can exercise its extraordinary power conferred under Article 142(1) of the Constitution of India and here also the court has done under its power to do complete justice.

The same was held in the case of Delhi Judicial Service Assn. Delhi v. State of Gujarat & also in Union Carbide Corporation v. Union of India. And article 142(1) complied with article 32 and 136 empowers the court to pass such orders which may deem fit and also it cannot be limited by the enacted statutory law. This is because the statutory power cannot override the constitutional power and article 142(1) comes under constitutional power. And conferring power to the CBI in the current case is due to the large interest. Hence, the court dismissed the petition.

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