Sanction should not be granted against govt employees in vexatious prosecution: SC

New Delhi: The competent authority should not grant sanction to try government employees if prosecution is “simply vexatious”, the Supreme Court today said.

Justice Kurian Joseph
Justice Kurian Joseph
Picture courtesy: wikipedia

A bench comprising justices Kurian Joseph and Abhay Manohar Sapre said that once the prosecution is of the view that no case is made out to prosecute an accused, “unless the court finds otherwise, there is no point in making a request for sanction for prosecution.”

“If the prosecution is simply vexatious, sanction for prosecution is not to be granted. That is one of the main considerations to be borne in mind by the competent authority while considering whether the sanction is to be granted or not,” the bench said.

Setting aside a Bombay High Court order which had directed the DGP to forward a request for sanction for prosecution against a Sub Divisional Officer (SDO) to competent authority, the bench said that it exceeded in its jurisdiction in substituting its views and that too without any legal basis.

The High Court had set aside a trial court which had accepted a closure report filed by the investigating officer regarding bribe allegations against the SDO for giving a non agricultural land certificate.

“Once the legal requirements to constitute the alleged offence qua one of the accused are lacking, there is no point in taking cognizance and proceeding further as against him,” the bench said.

It said that the magistrate, having seen the records and having heard the parties, had come to the conclusion that no offence is made out against the appellant under the provisions of the Prevention of Corruption Act.

The apex court said the crux of the allegation was the conversation between the complainant and the accused but forensic report found that the conversation was inaudible.

“Therefore, once the ‘crux’ goes, the superstructure also falls, lacking in legs. Hence, prosecution becomes a futile exercise as the materials available do not show that an offence is made out as against the appellant. This part, unfortunately, the High Court missed,” it said.

Complainant Dattatray Gulabrao Phalke had lodged a complaint with the ACB that Maval’s SDO Sanjaysinh Ramrao Chavan was seeking a bribe of Rs 75,000 for granting non-agricultural land certificate. ACB had lodged the case after the SDO was allegedly caught.