SC allows Swamy’s petition on sanction of prosecution

Janata Party President Subramanian Swamy

NEW DELHI: In a rap on the knuckles of the government in the 2G case, the Supreme Court today held that filing of a complaint under the Prevention of Corruption Act is a constitutional right of a citizen and the competent authority decide within a time frame on granting sanction of prosecution of a public servant.

Setting aside the Delhi High Court judgment refusing to give direction to the Prime Minister on the request for sanction of prosecution against the then Telecom Minister A Raja in the 2G scam case, a two-judge bench of the court held that if the sanction is not given within four months then it is deemed to have been granted.

The bench, comprising justices G S Singhvi and A K Ganguly, held that Janata Party President Subramanian Swamy, who had sought sanction for prosecution of Raja, had the locus standi to seek it.

It said sanction should be granted within a time frame and the competent authority shall take action in accordance with the guidelines laid down by the apex court in the Vineet Narain case of 1996.

Justice Ganguly, who wrote a separate judgment, agreed with Justice Singhvi and said sanction would be deemed to be granted if the competent authority fails to take a decision within a period of four months.

The bench said that right to file a complaint against a public servant under the Prevention of Corruption Act is a constitutional right.

The bench said it was not accepting certain submissions made by the Attorney General in defending the stand of Prime Minister’s Office.

Swamy had alleged that there was an “inordinate delay” on part of the prime minister in taking a decision on his plea for grant of sanction to prosecute Raja in the scam and his plea was neither allowed not rejected for over 16 months.

The court said it was not declaring as ultra vires the provisions of the Prevention of Corruption Act

The apex court had reserved its judgment on November 24, 2010 on the petition filed by Swamy alleging that there was delay in taking action on his plea seeking sanction to prosecute Raja.

Swamy, who had made PM a party in the case, had initially sought a direction to the PM to take decision on sanction to prosecute Raja but later on he sought framing of guidelines on the issue as his plea became in fructuous with the resignation of DMK leader as telecom minister on November 14, 2010.

The PMO had, however, refuted all the allegations and filed an affidavit before the apex court maintaining that the request for sanction for prosecution of Raja was considered by the prime minister and that he was advised that evidence collected by CBI was necessary before taking a decision.

The government said as the CBI probe was going on it was necessary to wait for its completion before taking any decision on granting sanction.

Swamy had approached the apex court challenging the Delhi High Court judgment that had refused to pass any direction to the prime minister for taking decision on sanction. -PTI

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