The Supreme Court Wednesday said that probe agencies like CBI and the Enforcement Directorate(ED) are overburdened like judiciary and face similar problems like the manpower crunch and the lack of proper infrastructure.
A bench headed by Chief Justice N V Ramana, which was critical of the fact that majority of cases involving lawmakers as accused are pending at investigation stage with the probe agencies, however spared the agencies from its harsh observations saying they are also facing issues which are inflicting the judiciary.
“We understand manpower is the real issue. We have to take a practical stand. Just like us, investigating agencies are also suffering due to shortage of manpower. You see, nowadays everyone wants a CBI investigation,” the CJI observed, adding, “Mr Mehta (Solicitor General) we want your cooperation on the issue. You apprise us about the shortage of manpower in investigating agencies”.
The law officer assured the bench that he would meet the Directors of the CBI and the ED to ascertain the information regarding the manpower crunch.
The bench, also comprising Justices D Y Chandrachud and Surya Kant, said told amicus curiae and senior advocate Vijay Hansaria that like the judiciary, investigating agencies are also facing manpower crunch and it has to take practical view on these issues and the Solicitor General can apprise it about the shortage.
The bench said it has gone through the ED and CBI reports but “it’s easy for us to say, expedite the trial, etc. but we are also aware that there are several issues involved with this. There is a shortage of judges, courts and infrastructure. I’ve also summarised and have prepared some notes. Total 76 cases of ED are pending since 2012 onwards. 58 cases of CBI are of life imprisonment and oldest case is from 2000”.
The top court said it was not saying anything or expressing any opinion on the investigating agencies like ED or CBI as it will lower their morale but they should ensure that trials are completed expeditiously.
It said the state governments have the power under law to withdraw “malicious” criminal cases and it is not against withdrawal of such cases but they should be examined by the high courts concerned.
The top court is hearing a PIL filed by advocate Ashwini Upadhyay seeking life ban on lawmakers convicted in heinous criminal cases and speedy disposal of cases against them.