A division bench, comprising Justice Iqbal Ahmed Ansari and Justice Indira Shah, of Gauhati High Court, on November 6, “set aside” and “quashed” the “impugned” resolution, dated April 1, 1963, whereby CBI had been constituted. The Court judgement has practically made CBI an unconstitutional body.
Profile of judges
Justice Iqbal Ahmed Ansari: Son of a legal luminiary, Iqbal Ahmed Ansari was born in Tezpur in Assam in 1954. He had joined Assam Judicial Service (AJS) in April 1991 and served as the District and Sessions Judge in past. Joined Gauhati High Court Registry in June 1999. Later he was elevated as a Judge of Gauhati High Court.
In 2005, Ansari had pronounced an important judgement where he had allowed a minor rape victim to terminate her pregnancy when doctors refused by saying the matter was “sub-judice.” Though medical examination confirmed rape, doctors refused to terminate the pregnancy. The parents of the victim approached the court of sub-judicial magistrate but the petition was dismissed by the lower court. Later, they approached the Gauhati High Court where Justice Ansari, while terming the case as “unusual”, asked the Superintendent of the Guwahati Medical College and Hospital to terminate the pregnancy and said it would otherwise cause “grave injury to her mental health’’.
Ansari had in 2010, after hearing a writ petition, stayed the orders of the Governor of Assam on suspension of NC Hills Autonomous Council in Assam (which was then in news for the multi-crore scam), and the declaration of a special session of the NC Hills Autonomous Council as illegal.
Justice Indira Shah: Born in 1954, Indira Shah enrolled as an advocate in 1978. She joined the Assam Judicial Service (AJS) in 1980 and worked in various capacities in many districts of Assam and lastly as District Judge in Jorhat and Kamrup till the appointment as Registrar General of Gauhati High Court on November 1, 2011. She was elevated as Additional Judge of Gauhati High Court on 2nd March, 2012.
The November 6, judgement would be probably the first important judgement of Justice Indira Shah.
The petitioner, Navendra Kumar, a resident of Delhi, was an employee of Mahanagar Telephone Nigam Limited (MTNL) in 2001 when a case under Section 13(1) (d) read with Section 13(2) of the Prevention of Corruption Act, 1988, was registered in the office of the Superintendent of Police, CBI, in Silchar in Assam.
Having investigated the case, the CBI laid a charge sheet on November 25, 2004 in the Court of the Special Judge, CBI, Kamrup, Guwahati. In 2005, Kumar filed a writ petition in Gauhati High Court questioning the constitutional validity of the very formation of the CBI and its powers to carry out the functions of police, namely, registration of First Information Report (FIR) under Section 154 of the Code of Criminal Procedure (Cr.PC), arrest of a person, as an accused, investigation of offences, filing of charge-sheets against alleged offenders and to prosecute them were put to challenge.
In his prayer before the Court, Kumar had asked the court to “quash the impugned Resolution No. 4/31/61-T, dated 01-04-1963, as ultra vires the Constitution of India, by way of an appropriate writ, order or direction in the nature of certiorari and (ii) quash the criminal proceeding/prosecution originated from the FIR/RC No. 39(A)/2001/CBI/SIL pending against the petitioner in the court of Special Judge (CBI) for Assam at Guwahati, by way of an appropriate writ, order or direction in the nature of certiorari.”
In 2007, a single Judge dismissed his writ petition, following which he again filed a writ appeal in the High Court in 2008, whose judgement was pronounced by the Court on November 6. However, while pronouncing the CBI as “unconstitutional” and quashing the charge-sheet against the petitioner, submitted by the CBI, the court said that would not bar further investigation by the police having jurisdiction over the subject matter.