Taking Cognizance without sanction after asking CBI to file sanction Order does not amount to Review; SC

Taking Cognizance without sanction after asking CBI to file sanction Order does not amount to Review; SC

The Supreme Court has observed that, an order of a Court refusing to summon the accused for want of sanction, and thereby directing the prosecution to file sanction orders, does not amount to ‘final order’, but only a ‘deferment’. The Apex court bench comprising of Justices A.K. Sikri and R.K. Agrawal has also observed that, in such a case, if the court, takes cognizance at a later stage upon agreement with the prosecution that no such sanction is required, it does not amount to ‘review’.

In the instant case, CBI filed charge sheet against 14 persons accused of offences under Prevention of Corruption Act and IPC. The Special Court took cognizance against all the accused except two, who were ministers, and thereby directed the CBI to file Sanction orders, observing that if it is not filed, no cognizance could be taken against these ministers. Thereafter, CBI filed a memo before the Court stating that no such sanction is required and requests the Court to take cognizance against these ministers as well. Accepting the contentions of CBI, the court ‘modified’ the order observing that no sanction is necessary. The High Court on revision, set aside this ‘modified’ order, on the ground that it amounts to review, which is barred by virtue of Section 362 of Criminal procedure. CBI appealed to Apex Court.

The ApexCourt, observing that Section 362 of CrPC debars the Court from altering or reviewing the judgment only in those cases when it has signed its judgment or when it has passed final order disposing of a case, said “, the Trial Court on the earlier occasion had simply deferred taking cognizance under the impression that the sanction under Section 19 of the PC Act is required. There was no final order passed disposing of the case inasmuch as had the sanction been brought, (cognizance would have been taken in any case), the Trial Court is authorised to take cognizance which is not disputed by the learned counsel for the respondent as well. The question whether a sanction is required or not would be a different matter. We may point out here that the Trial Court was not oblivious of the aforesaid aspect while taking cognizance of offences under the PC Act against the respondent and others. It specifically recorded that it does not amount to reviewing its own decision. Vide order dated 13.09.2012 passed by the Trial Court earlier, it had merely asked the Investigation Officer to file sanction orders against A4 to A8 and deferred the order of cognizance against them. There was no decision much less conclusive decision taken by the Court. The Trial Court rightly pointed out that it was only in the nature of reminding the duty of the Investigation Officer to meet certain requirements for taking cognizance of offence under the PC Act. However, when the Investigation Officer brought to its notice, on the subsequent date, that no such sanction was required, the Trial Court finding it to be correct position in law took cognizance. By this, the Trial Court was not reviewing any order. According to us order dated 13.09.2012 could not be construed as final order, more so, when there was no final determination of the issue regarding requirement of sanction for prosecution against the respondent herein.”

Read the Judgment here.