The law is well settled that no sanction is required to prosecute a public servant who has ceased to hold office when prosecution is for the offences under the Prevention of Corruption Act.
MCRC No. 1257/2020
MCRC No. 2844/2020
HIGH COURT OF MADHYA PRADESH
BENCH AT GWALIOR
BEFORE: SHEEL NAGU AND
RAJEEV KUMAR SHRIVASTAVA, JJ.
Misc. Criminal Case No. 1257/2020
Mahabir Prasad Jain & Others
State of Madhya Pradesh
Misc. Criminal Case No. 2844/2020
H.D.Joshi and Another
State of Madhya Pradesh
Shri Sunil Kumar Jain, learned counsel for the petitioners.Shri S.C. Chaturvedi with Shri Ajit Sudele, learned Special Public Prosecutor for the respondent-Economic Offence Wing.Shri Pratip Visoriya, learned Government Advocate for the State. ——————————————————————————–
Sections 409, 420, 467, 468,471, 120B of IPC – Section 13(1)(D), 13(2) of Prevention of Corruption Act, 1988 – sanction of prosecution – The law is well settled that no sanction is required to prosecute a public servant who has ceased to hold office when prosecution is for the offences under the Prevention of Corruption Act.
The impugned orders are mainly attacked on the point of prior sanction under Section 197 of CrPC. It is submitted that the prosecution did not procure a sanction for prosecuting the petitioners, who are retired government servants, as warranted by Section 197 CrPC as well as Section 19 of PC Act.
12.So far as the merits of the case are concerned, suffice it tosay that the trial court has considered in detail, the entire factual matrix available on record and the material collected by the investigating agency in support of the charge-sheet and recorded sound and substantial reasons concluding that sufficient evidence is available to put the accused up for trial. Apart that, in the present case charges were framed on 10.01.2018. As the cognizance has been taken by the trial Court and charge sheet has already been filed, therefore, prior sanction which is indirectly a shield provided to the government servants to protect them for an act done in discharge of their official duties, will not be a ground for discharging the petitioners/accused. Similarly, the provisions which are procedural will not hamper the prosecution case on the ground of its retrospective or prospective effect. The above view finds support from the below mentioned judgments.
13.In State of Punjab vs. Labh Singh, reported in 2015(1) RLW 234 (SC), Hon’ble Apex Court in para No.7 of the judgment, has observed as below:“In the present case the public servants in question had retired on 13.12.1999 and 30.04.2000. The sanction to prosecute them was rejected subsequent to their retirement i.e. first on 13.09.2000 and later on 24.09.2003. The public servants having retired from service there was no occasion to consider grant of sanction under Sec. 19 of the POC Act. The law on the point is quite clear that sanction to prosecute the public servant for the offences under the POC Act is not required if the public servant had already retired on the date of cognizance by the court.In S.A. Venkataraman vs. State [1958 SCR1040] while construing section 6(1) of the Prevention of Corruption Act, 1947 which provision is in pari materia with section 19(1) of the POC Act,This Court held that no sanction was necessary in the case of a person who had ceased to be the public servant at the time the court was asked to take cognizance. The view taken in S. A. Venkataraman(supra) was adopted by this court in C.R. Bansi vs.State of Maharashtra [(1970) 3 SCC 537] and in Kalicharan Mahapatra vs. State of Orissa [(1998) 6SCC 411] and by the Constitution Bench of this court in K. Veeraswamy vs. Union of India. The High Court was not therefore justified in setting aside the order passed by the Special Judge insofar as charge under the POC Act was concerned.”
14.Manifestly thus, the law is well settled that no sanction is required to prosecute a public servant who has ceased to hold office when prosecution is for the offences under the Prevention of Corruption Act.
15.In R. Balakrishna Pillai vs. State of Kerala and another, [AIR 1996 SC 901], it was clearly held that the charge under the Prevention of Corruption Act would not be disturbed even if the sanction was not taken because the public servant concerned had retired by the date of taking of cognizance.
16.In view of the above discussion, finding no shortcoming,either factual or legal, in the impugned orders dated 13.03.201 and 14.11.2019 passed by the Special Judge under Prevention of Corruption Act, Gwalior in Case No. 03/2020 SST, we are of the view that both these petitions have no merit and are dismissed as such. The trial court shall expedite the trial.
Let a copy of this order be sent to the concerning trial Court for information and compliance.
(Rajeev Kumar Shrivastava) Judge