Plea arises from Manmohan's ‘failure' to grant sanction for prosecution

Janata Party president Subramanian Swamy on Friday moved the Supreme Court against a Delhi High Court order rejecting his petition for a direction to the Prime Minister Manmohan Singh to grant him sanction for prosecuting Communications Minister A. Raja in the alleged Rs. 60,000-crore 2G spectrum scam.

In his special leave petition, Dr. Swamy said that it arose because of the failure of the Prime Minister “who ( in so far as it is intended to prosecute for corruption any member of the Union Council of Ministers) is to grant previous sanction to prosecute Mr. Raja.”

Nearly two years had elapsed since he first applied to the Prime Minister. Also the Central Vigilance Commissioner; the Comptroller and Auditor-General of India and the Central Bureau of Investigation “all have found that there is a prima facie case of corruption made out.” Still the Prime Minister refused to decide his application on the plea that the “case is still under investigation.

Dr. Swamy said the High Court had erred in dismissing his petition. Whether or not the sanctioning authority had directed a probe by the CBI or any other investigating agency and whether an “investigation is in progress” or not, it would be impermissible for the sanctioning authority to refuse sanction or not to act on the application, he said.

“Corruption is an urgent public issue. The Prime Minister must decide, exercising his discretion here not as Prime Minister on the aid and advice of the Council of Ministers; but on his own. An investigation must not be allowed to be choked off/scuttled simply because it is not politically expedient. Political expediency has no place in deciding whether a prosecution under the Act should or should not take place.”

Questions of law

Dr. Swamy said the SLP raised important questions of law, “whether [the plea that] grant or refusal of sanction to prosecute may affect the process and progress of the investigation is a valid ground for failure to decide the application for sanction to prosecute; whether the failure to decide for long periods of time an application for grant of sanction to prosecute can be permitted on grounds that it is tantamount to scuttling the proposed prosecution and whether in the facts of a scam of this extent (it is alleged that the scam, probably the biggest in Indian history, has caused a loss to the nation in the neighbourhood of Rs.60,000 crore) some time frame must be laid down for grant/refusal of sanction.”

The SLP sought quashing of the impugned August 18 order and an interim stay of its operation.

More In: National | News