What are CBI courts?

Reading time: 6-8 minutes.

The CBI court of Ranchi recently awarded death sentence to 23-year-old Rahul Raj for the rape and murder of a 19 year old engineering student. This case was decided on the fourth anniversary of Delhi’s Nirbhaya case. This trial was decided a little above one month, as said by the officials of CBI.

The case was decided by CBI judge AK Mishra, who found Rahul Raj guilty of rape and murder of the victim. The girl was reported to be a fourth semester student of engineering collage located in Oramanjhi, Ranchi.

This death sentence was decided almost in a month which is nothing but an added feather to the golden cap of justice for women. The victim’s body was found naked on December 16, 2016 amidst smoke from the house that was on fire.

An autopsy confirmed that victim of crime was raped and then murdered. The Jharkhand police collected sample of DNA of accused from victim’s body, and subsequently apprehended the accused.

The case did not immediately receive justice. The case came to the limelight when the students of Jharkhand commenced a protest for justice for the victim. The protest was later joined by students of the victim’s engineering college student and locals. This case took a total of 15 months to reach the CBI.

The CBI registered the case on March 28, 2018 and began the hunt for the culprit. This case was almost blind with zero clue, but still CBI with high efforts by profiling people into various groups based on age tried to find the suspect.

The apprehended accused was habitual offender as he had charges of sexual attack on minor as was in judicial custody for 3 years. CBI further came to know that offender had 10 cases against him in Utter Pradesh and Bihar.

CBI courts: In brief

CBI courts are established under Delhi Special Police Establishment Act, 1946. They were established so as to reduce the burden on judicial system. The judges of these special courts obtain their position through election, rather than merit or common judicial system. A CBI magistrate is appointed one who is in rank of Chief Judicial Magistrate or a Judicial Magistrate First Class. Funding of these court is obtained by the CBI court itself.

CBI courts are another form of district court, these courts are made to deal with cases to be specially dealt with by the CBI. The purpose of these courts is to make the path of justice as simple, continent, and justified as possible.

CBI courts generally deal with complicated and highlighted cases which involve many evidences. As the courts try only limited cases, they can try these cases more effectively.

As district and session court decision can be challenged in high court, similarly decisions of CBI courts can be challenged in the high court.

Difference from usual criminal courts

CBI courts exclusively deal with only those cases that are filled under CBI. Criminal courts deal with normal cases that are initiated either by directly approaching the Magistrate with a criminal complaint under s. 190 CrPC, or by filing a First Information Report with the State Police under s. 154 CrPC.

The strength of a CBI Court depends upon the number of cases it has under it to deal with. Generally there is one CBI court for a particular state, all cases of that state which are dealt by CBI are tried by that CBI court. On the other hand, criminal courts are generally present in every district.

However, there is not much difference in their working. CBI courts normally function like regular criminal courts. As for pendency of cases, CBI has very less in number as compared to criminal courts. CBI courts ensure faster disposal of cases, as in the case stated above of rape and murder which was concluded in 30 days.

Procedure of a trial by CBI court is same as of normal criminal court. The officers appointed as judge of CBI courts is by High Court and they generally have a tenure of 3 to 4 years on deputation from their regular court. The judges of these CBI courts are officers of regular cadre of particular state cadre judiciary.

Once these officers are on deputation to a CBI court from a regular court, for that period of time they cannot hold regular courts. On the other hand, criminal court do not have any particular type of compulsion to follow.

Legal provisions for CBI courts

Legal powers of investigation of CBI is given under the Delhi special police establishment act (DSPE) 1946. It confers power, duties, privileges and liabilities to CBI, which are concurrent and coextensive in nature. This is given to all members of CBI; limitations can be applied with lower position.

The Central Government is given power, which it can extend to any area, beside Union Territories the jurisdiction and power of member of CBI for investigating subject is free without any restriction of any concerned state.

While exercising such powers, people above rank of Sub-Inspector in CBI are deemed to be officer’s incharge of police station of particular jurisdiction. The CBI has power to investigate only in such type of offences as per what is notified under Central Government under DSPE act.

As law and order is a subject of state list, and because basic jurisdiction to investigate crime lies with state government police itself. Beside due to limited resources and restriction, CBI would not able to investigate crime of all kinds.

Appellate system

CBI courts follow a similar procedure of appeal as is followed by regular criminal courts. Appellate courts are those courts of the judicial system which are responsible for hearing and reviewing those cases which have been already decided by some lower court. CBI cases are to be appealed for reconsideration in High Court of that particular state, it can further be appealed to at our highest court of justice, Supreme Court.

Conclusion

Justice delayed is justice denied. Justice is one of the foundation basic foundation of any society. It is therefore necessary for judiciary to perform its duty for any society properly keeping peace, harmony and progress in mind.

Unfortunately, the Indian judiciary faces the serious issue of delayed justice in many cases. The Indian judiciary have structural problems that mostly prevent it from working efficiently for timely disposal of cases.

However, these structural problems have improved with time. Many new courts have been established for dealing with special cases, thereby lessening the burden on regular courts. One of these new courts is the CBI court, which has proved its efficiency by concluding a case of high importance within 1 month.

We know, that pendency of cases in nationwide problem, it varies vastly from state to state. Average pendency is anywhere in range between two years to nine years.

To solve this problem, we need to form more such type of special courts. We also need to work on problems that lead to delay on daily basis. With this our justice system will be improved and will be able to give better and correct results in a shorter period of time.       

Author: Prachi Agnihotri from UPES, Dehradun.

Editor: Anna Jose Kallivayalil from NLU, Delhi.

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