7. Section 6A was introduced into the DSPE Act with effect from 11.9.2003 by virtue of Section 26(c) of the Central Vigilance Commission Act, 2003. The pre-cursor to Section 6A was the Single Directive which was a consolidated set of instructions issued to the CBI by the various Ministries/Departments. It was first issued in 1969 and thereafter amended on many occasions. The Single Directive contained certain instructions to the CBI regarding modalities of initiating an inquiry or registering a case against certain categories of civil servants. Directive No. 4.7 (3) (i) was as under:
level equivalent to Joint Secretary or above in the Central Government, Executive Directors and above of the SEBI and Chairman & Managing Director and Executive Directors and such of the bank officers who are one level below the Board of Nationalised Banks), there should be prior sanction of the Secretary of the Ministry/Department concerned before SPE takes up any enquiry (PE or RC), including ordering search in respect of them. Without such sanction, no enquiry shall be initiated by the SPE. The similarity between Section 6A(1) and this Directive can be seen immediately. Section 6A of the DSPE Act reads as under: 6A. Approval of Central Government to conduct inquiry or investigation - (1) The Delhi Special Police Establishment shall not conduct any inquiry or investigation into any offence alleged to have been committed under the Prevention of Corruption Act, 1988 (49 of 1988) except with the previous approval of the Central Government where such allegation relates to - (a) the employees of the Central Government of the level of Joint Secretary and above; and (b) such officers as are appointed by the Central Government in corporations established by or under any Central Act, Government Companies, Societies and local authorities
11. It is subsequent thereto that Section 6A has been inserted in the DSPE Act with effect from 11.9.2003. From the date of decision in Vineet Narain's case (supra) till the introduction of Section 6A in the DPSE Act w.e.f. 11.9.2003, there was no requirement of seeking previous approval for investigation except for the period 25.8.1998 to 27.10.1998 when ordinances were inforce.