The Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) has no power to prosecute Ministers, if the Council of Ministers advises the Governor not to give sanction for the prosecution.
A note making out such a case was presented to Chief Minister N. Kiran Kumar Reddy on Tuesday in the background of Roads & Buildings Minister Dharmana Prasada Rao’s resignation after being charge-sheeted by CBI in the Vanpic lands allotment aspect of Kadapa MP Jaganmohan Reddy’s disproportionate assets case.
The note touched upon issues like whether the Governor can give sanction for prosecution of Minister. It also raised questions like whether the decision taken by the Cabinet can be found fault with and whether there was scope for courts of law to inquire into the Cabinet’s recommendations to the Governor. The issue of bias attributed to the Cabinet is also discussed in the note circulated by Tourism Minister Vatti Vasant Kumar.
The note prepared by a legal expert makes exhaustive reference to the judgments delivered by the Supreme Court and the High Courts of various States on the cases relating to charges of corruption levelled against Ministers. It points out that the advice of the Council of Ministers/Cabinet of a State government is must for the Governor to act and give sanction for prosecution of any Minister unless and until he uses his discretion which will be possible only if the Governor concludes that the advice given by the Cabinet is filled with bias.
The decisions made by the Cabinet during the YSR’s regime were collective and each Minister signing the files as head of that particular department has only carried out the executive function in implementing the policy laid down by the Cabinet. “No individual liability can be fastened on him as he has only discharged his duty as the head of that particular department, which includes officers below him,” it said.
It further adds that the investigating agency has to necessarily establish the quid pro quo and the bias including the benefit garnered by the person, who is accused of bribery or corruption. The sanction of prosecution from the Governor is must for Ministers while it is the government which gives sanction for prosecution of bureaucrats.