Chennai: The Madras High Court today upheld the CBI’s jurisdiction to register a case against members of the Centralised Admission Committee of Puducherry in a case of illegal PG medical admissions in the Union Territory. The court dismissed a plea filed by committee members including Puducherry Health Secretary B R Babu for quashing the FIR against them, saying there is no necessity to put spokes in the wheel of investigation for “unsustainable reasons”.
The petitioners had claimed that the agency had not taken the consent of the Union Territory for filing the case.
When the petition came up, Justice G Jayachandran said the FIR registered against the petitioners was for offences under IPC as well as Prevention of Corruption (PC) Act. “The PC Act extends to the whole of India except to the state of Jammu and Kashmir and applies to all citizens of India and outside India. “So in the light of the above, this court holds that CBI has territorial jurisdiction over the Union Territory of Puducherry by virtue of Section 2(2) and Section 5 of Delhi Special Police Establishment Act 1940,” the judge said.
The Union Territory’s consent was not required to register and investigate offences notified under Section 3 of the Act, the court said. It was alleged that the officials entered into a criminal conspiracy during March-July 2017 in the matter of admissions to the PG-medical courses in Puducherry. According to the CBI FIR, “the accused officers cheated bona fide students who were issued provisional admission certificate during counselling by the Centralised Admission Committee (CENTAC)” but were later denied the seats they were allocated. It is alleged by the CBI that public servants in criminal conspiracy with private hospital officials abused their official position and cheated bona fide students. It claimed that as part of the conspiracy, the private medical colleges denied admission to bona fide CENTAC- sponsored students and admitted others collecting exorbitant fees.
According to the prosecution, the petitioners, responsible for admission into various professional courses in the Union Territory, had violated the procedure and directions of the centre, Puducherry government, Medical Council of India and the directions issued by the Supreme Court in respect of PG Medical admissions for 2017-18. Senior Counsel VT Gopalan for the petitioners argued that the Union Territory has its own police force to take care of its law and order. Unless it “gives consent for CBI to exercise the power and jurisdiction, the agency cannot register a complaint for the alleged offences that took place within the Union Territory,” the counsel said. Rejecting the contention, the judge said the court was “satisfied that prima facie materials are available.”
The CBI alone was competent and capable to investigate the complaint which has wide interstate ramification in the administration of medical education. There was no necessity to invalidate the action by misinterpretation of the provisions of law, the judge said. “The petitioners have already been brought under the scanner of the investigation.They are not charged with any offence.” “If they have any valuable defence they can establish the same by co-operating with the investigation.There is no necessity to put spokes in the wheel of investigation for the unsustainable reasons,” the judge said.