Corruption Cases: Sanction Must For Prosecution, Says HC

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SRINAGAR — The Jammu and Kashmir High Court on Monday said that launching prosecution against an accused in corruption case was bad in law.

A bench of Justice M K Hanjura responded in negative to questions framed by it whether by subverting the process of the provisions of the Prevention of Corruption Act, and the Code of Criminal Procedure, requiring the sanction of the competent authority as a condition precedent for the initiation of prosecution against an erring accused, can be diluted when the factual aspect prima facie disclose the commission of an offence that falls within the fours of the Provisions of the Prevention of Corruption Act or relates to the discharge of official duties.

The court was hearing a petition filed by one Najam-ud-din Lone, who while working as Zonal Education Officer, Budgam, was placed under suspension by an Order (No. 1088-Edu of 2013 dated 31.12.2013) issued by the Secretary to Government, School Education Department, Jammu and Kashmir. Simultaneously, an FIR (333/2012) for the commission of offences under Section 409/420 RPC came to be registered against him at Police Station Budgam on the basis of a complaint alleging fake appointments, misappropriation of school funds and midday meals etc. (reckoned and calculated at Rs 5 lakhs approximately) with which the investigation ensued.

On the completion of the investigation of the case, a charge sheet was laid against Lone before the court of the Chief Judicial Magistrate, Budgam, for the commission of the offences. By order on 25 March 2017, Lone was charged for the commission of offences under sections 420, 409 RPC.

After discussing a number of judgment by various courts, the court said that interpretation which helps a citizen in a criminal case should be preferred.

“Therefore, following the view expressed by the Andhra Pradesh and Patna High Courts, which view was, in fact, noticed by the Gauhati High Court, I am of the view that the prosecution of (Lone) is not possible unless sanction is obtained,” the court said, adding.

From the gravamen of charge, the court said, it becomes manifest that the “case falls within the specie of the cases classified for the grant of statutory sanction as per the principle of law. “Therefore, there being no sanction, the cognizance taken by the Chief Judicial Magistrate, Budgam is bad in law and unless the same is quashed, it will be an abuse of the process of the Court,” the court said and allowed Lone petition. 

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