New Delhi: The Supreme Court has reiterated that sanction from the competent authority is pre-requisite and mandatory for prosecution of a public servant in criminal cases, including under the Prevention of Corruption Act.
It also held that such sanction from appropriate authority is mandatory prerequisite even when the cognisance is taken by a criminal court under Section 319 of the Cr.P.C.
Giving this ruling a Bench of Justices J.S. Khehar and C. Nagappan, however, said that protection of ‘sanction’ under Section 197 of the Criminal Procedure Code is not available to police officers accused of illegal detention of an accused and offences committed during the period before the formal-arrest is recorded.
Justice Khehar citing a catena of earlier verdict said the law declared by this Court emerging from various judgements leaves no room for any doubt, that under Section 197 of the Cr.P.C. and/or sanction mandated under a special statute (as postulated under Section 19 of the Prevention of Corruption Act) would be a necessary pre-requisite, before a Court of competent jurisdiction, takes cognisance of an offence (whether under the IPC, or under the concerned special statutory enactment).
The Bench said the procedure for obtaining sanction would be governed by the provisions of the Cr.P.C. and/or as mandated under the special enactment.
The mandate is clear and unambiguous, that a Court “shall not” take cognizance without sanction. Therefore, a Court just cannot take cognizance, without sanction by the appropriate authority....