14 Sep 2023 5:45 AM GMT
The Karnataka High Court has quashed the criminal proceedings against senior Indian Police Service (IPS) Officer Alok Kumar under Sections 7, 13(1)(d) r/w 13(2) of the Prevention of Corruption Act. Justice M Nagaprasanna found that the Sessions Judge had not received a valid sanction to prosecute the IPS officer, who was not named as an accused when the case was initially registered. ...
The Karnataka High Court has quashed the criminal proceedings against senior Indian Police Service (IPS) Officer Alok Kumar under Sections 7, 13(1)(d) r/w 13(2) of the Prevention of Corruption Act.
Justice M Nagaprasanna found that the Sessions Judge had not received a valid sanction to prosecute the IPS officer, who was not named as an accused when the case was initially registered.
“Since there is no sanction accorded to prosecute the petitioner prior to the order of the learned Sessions Judge taking cognizance of the offence, I deem it appropriate to obliterate the proceedings against the petitioner, reserving liberty to the concerned Court to proceed against the petitioner only after a valid sanction from the hands of the Competent Authority is placed before it.”
On 30-08-2014, the respondent and his friends were at a bar and there was an altercation between them and the management. In respect of the said incident, a case comes to be registered against the respondent before the Vyalikaval Police Station.
It was alleged that during the investigation into the same, the Assistant Commissioner of Police and other police officers repeatedly called the respondent and demanded a bribe to close the case. Subsequently, he allegedly gave Rs. 5 lakhs to the ACP. However, it is contended that the ACP then asked the respondent to pay Rs.1 crore to the petitioner.
Upon investigation, the Police wing of the Karnataka Lokayukta filed a report against the accused including the petitioner contending that there was no substance in the allegation of demand and acceptance of bribe. However, the concerned court rejected the report and took cognizance of the offence punishable under Sections 7, 13(1)(d) r/w 13(2) of the PC Act against the petitioner.
The petitioner argued that the complaint did not even have any ingredients of demand and acceptance and that there was no evidence placed even prima facie to demonstrate that the petitioner had demanded and accepted any bribe.
The respondent opposed the plea saying that the concerned court had passed a detailed order as to why the report had to be rejected and that the petitioner had adequate opportunity in the trial to prove his case.
On going through the complaint, the bench noted that the allegations pertain to the discharge of the official duty of the petitioner and others. Therefore, sanction for prosecution as obtained under Section 19 of the PC Act was mandatory to be placed before the concerned Court, prior to the Court taking cognizance of the offence.
Placing reliance on Supreme Court judgements, the court said,
“If there is nexus qua the allegation to the discharge of official duty, sanction for such prosecution of public servant is imperative.”
The bench also found that the concerned court could not have taken cognizance without at the outset sanction being accorded to prosecute the petitioner.
"It is germane to notice that when the crime came to be registered, the petitioner was not named as an accused. It is later when the Police conducted investigation and filed ‘B’ report before the concerned Court, while taking cognizance based upon the protest memo, cognizance is taken against the petitioner. Therefore, sanction in the aforesaid facts as well, becomes imperative.”
The order of the Additional City Civil & Sessions Judge & Special Judge was thus quashed, only insofar as it concerns the petitioner. Accordingly, the petition was allowed.
Case Title: Alok Kumar v Mallikarjun B M alias Ravi
Appearance: Senior Advocate Sandesh J Chouta a/w Advocate Sunil Kumar S for Petitioner.
Advocate Sanchan Jai Nandan for Respondent.
Citation: 2023 LiveLaw (Kar) 354
Case No: Criminal Petition No 2164 of 2023.
Click Here To Read/Download Order