Explained: Can the CBI arrest a sitting Chief Minister? | Business Upturn

Explained: Can the CBI arrest a sitting Chief Minister?

CBI is entitled to make arrests of accused persons in accordance to the laws of the Union of India. Although a Chief Minister of a State or Union Territory is the factual head of government, there are many aspects to understand the possibility of an arrest. Take a look!

In India, Chief Ministers play a significant role in the headship of the State Government. They are elected for each state out of the 28 states and sometimes a union territory (UT). Currently, only the Union Territories of Delhi NCT and Puducherry have incumbent and official serving Chief Ministers. And therefore, according to the Constitution of India, the Governor is the de jure State head but the de facto executive authority rests with the chief minister who leads the government.

As per the provisions of the Cr.P.C, the officers of the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) can arrest any person against whom an arrest warrant has been issued by the court. The officers have no discretion in carrying out the arrest warrant issued by the courts.

In the specific case of arresting a Chief Minister, the CBI can make arrest of a person who is accused adhering and in compliance with certain rules and procedural aspects. Specially, in the case of a government official such as a Chief Minister, they can only be arrested if there is enough reason to believe that the accused would abscond, will try to destroy the evidence, or act in such a way as to avoid the legal process.

The Constitution of India has “MISCALLANEOUS” provision under Article 361.: Protection of President and Governors and Rajpramukhs. This provision particularly states that “The President, or the Governor or Rajpramukh of a State, shall not be answerable to any court for the exercise and performance of the powers and duties of his office or for any act done or purporting to be done by him in the exercise and performance of those powers and duties.”

This provision in itself entails various conditions and procedures however, it only deal with the either the President, the Governor or Rajpramukh. It must also be understood that the Rajpramukhs position no longer exists after the States Reorganization Act came into effect.

Therefore, the Chief Minister or de facto head of State Government is treated legally, under the capacity of a Government official. Who can be arrested by the CBI on other grounds which are not relevant to their discharge of official duties. Since, duties carried out as Chief Minister have been executed in accordance to the Constitution of India, laws, rules and regulations of the Union of India.