Several social media users and some media reports are claiming that the Intelligence Bureau (IB) may soon get the rights to register an FIR, as per the “amendments in the IB act” to be tabled in the upcoming winter session of the parliament. According to the posts, the IB would also be granted the power to summon people for questioning.
Newschecker first ran a keyword search for “IB register FIR ”, which did not throw up any credible reports of such an act or a government move. However, we came across this India Today article, dated October 26, 2018, titled “Explained: How CBI and IB are different”, against the backdrop of the detention of IB officers outside the house of then CBI director, Alok Verma.
According to the report, “The CBI, essentially, is the police. It can arrest you. It can interrogate you. It can search your home…The Intelligence Bureau, on the other hand, is NOT the police even though it is primarily staffed with police officers. The agency’s objective — as the name suggests — is to gather intelligence. This the agency does via a number of overt and covert means…The IB cannot arrest you. The IB cannot interrogate you.”
The article further explained that the IB’s functioning, due to the agency’s very nature, remains largely out of the public eye. “Its officers do not interact with the media nor do they hold press conferences. The agency does not have a website,” the report said, indicating that the agency does not have the powers to register an FIR and summon people for questioning.
This point has been further reiterated by the Centre, as seen in this Karnataka high court statement in 2012 as reported by the Times of India. “The Centre said the IB is a civilian organisation which does not enjoy police powers,” the article read. The report also quoted a PIL by a former IB officer who said, “The closest that the IB ever came to have a rule was in 1985 when Parliament enacted the Intelligence Organizations (Restriction of Rights) Act.”
Since the claim referred to ‘amendments in the IB Act’, Newschecker conducted a keyword search for “intelligence bureau act”, which did not show any such official act, raising our doubts.
We found only the Intelligence Organisations (Restriction of Rights) Ac, 1985, as mentioned in the Times of India article. There is no clause in the act that states that the IB, or intelligence organisations, can register an FIR or summon people for questioning.
We then came across this tweet by PIB Fact Check that debunked the viral claims, stating that there is no such proposed bill to grant the intelligence agency powers to file FIR or summon people for questioning.
A further search led us to a couple of tweets by journalists from The Hindu and Zee News, who citing government sources, said the report that IB may get powers to register FIRs and a bill for the same will be tabled in the upcoming winter session of parliament is false.
There is no proposed bill by the Centre to grant the IB with powers to file FIRs or summon people for questioning.
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