Rajasthan High Court has recently held that there is no requirement of previous sanction under Section 19 of the Prevention of Corruption Act for ordering a preliminary inquiry against a public servant.
The Accused/petitioners argued that in view of Supreme Court Judgments in Anil Kumar & Ors. vs. M.K. Aiyappa and L.Narayana Swamy Vs. State of Karnataka & Ors previous sanction is required to order a preliminary inquiry a public servant.
Justice Pushpendra Singh Bhati observed that from the purport of Section 19 of the Prevention of Corruption Act, it is clear that no court shall take cognizance of an offence punishable under the Sections mentioned in this provision, unless a previous sanction of the Government has been obtained.
He also observed that the question as to when cognizance shall proceed is a disputed question, regarding which different opinion has been expressed by the Supreme Court in the precedent law.
The Court was of the opinion that the matters are squarely covered by the decision of the Constitutional Bench of the Supreme Court in the case of Lalita Kumari vs. Government of Uttar Pradesh as well as the order passed by a coordinate Bench of Rajasthan High Court in Ashvini Dan Charan. VS. State of Rajasthan.
Dismissing the petition, the Court held as follows;
“In light of the aforesaid discussion as well as the precedent laws laid down by the Hon’ble Apex Court as well as by a coordinate Bench of this Court, this Court does not find any merit in the present criminal misc. petitions, as the order under challenge only directs a preliminary inquiry and thus no prejudice is caused to the present petitioner so as to entitle him to challenge the same. In case, the Anti Corruption Bureau registers an FIR in the matter and if cognizance is sought to be taken without sanction, then the petitioner would be at liberty to challenge the same by way of a fresh petition under Section 482 Cr.P.C., if he so desires”.
Kerala High Court in Maneesh E. Vs State of Kerala and Karnataka High Court in NC Shivakumar Vs State had declared the Supreme Court Judgment in Anil Kumar Case as per-incurium.
Read the Judgment here.