- The Supreme Court has ruled that in matters of corruption a preliminary investigation by the Central Bureau of Investigation is not required before registering an FIR under CrPC, PC Act, or even CBI manual.
- The observation was made by a bench of Justices DY Chandrachud, Vikram Nath and BV Nagarathna.
- The court emphasised that the accused cannot demand a preliminary investigation as a matter of right if the CBI chooses not to conduct one.
- In this case, the Telangana High Court overturned a FIR in a disproportionate assets case, stating that the CBI should have performed a Preliminary Enquiry under the Central Bureau of Investigation (Crime) Manual 2005 before filing the FIR.
- Before the Supreme Court, in an appeal, CBI argued that the CBI manual does not make it mandatory to conduct a Preliminary Enquiry before the registration of the FIR.
- It was also argued that a Preliminary Enquiry prior to the filing of a FIR is a necessary requirement in cases of alleged corruption involving public servants, including those involving Disproportionate Assets, because undue haste would result in the filing of frivolous and untenable complaints that could jeopardise these officials' careers.
- As a result, the question before the court was whether the CBI is needed to undertake a preliminary investigation before filing a FIR in every instance containing claims of alleged corruption against public officials?
- Referring to previous cases the court observed that they do not mandate that a Preliminary Enquiry must be conducted before filing an FIR in corruption cases.
- The absence of a preliminary investigation will not invalidate a FIR.
- Examining the case on its merits, the court overturned the Telangana High Court's decision and said that the CBI might continue its investigation based on the FIR.
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