Contending that the question of sanction for prosecution of a public servant for corruption would arise only at the stage of cognisance by the competent court after the filing of a complaint, the Centre on Thursday sought a direction in the Supreme Court to review its judgment that any private complainant could seek sanction for prosecution.
The court had fixed an outer time limit of four months for deciding the issue of sanction for prosecution of corrupt public servants, including one month for the Attorney-General to give his opinion to the government in certain cases.
In its petition, the Centre sought review of the January 31 judgment on the petition filed by the Janata Party president Subramanian Swamy, holding the Prime Minister's Office (PMO) responsible for sitting over his private complaint to Prime Minister Manmohan Singh seeking sanction to prosecute the former Telecom Minister, A. Raja, in the 2G scam.
The Centre said it was not challenging the findings in the judgment on locus standi but was seeking review for the limited extent of correcting certain errors apparent in the verdict as remarks were also made against the officers of the PMO who were not party to the litigation. These included “the observations made by this court regarding certain unnamed officers of the PMO without their being parties to the litigation.” The Centre faulted Justice Ganguly [since retired] for his observations in his separate judgment saying “it is legally untenable.”
In the absence of a time limit in Section 19 of the Prevention of Corruption Act (PCA), the provision would violate Article 14, the Centre said. “The conclusions in this regard that the question of sanction can arise at a stage anterior to the stage of cognisance and even before the filing of the complaint are in the respectful submission of the petitioner legally untenable.” The Centre said “the interpretation of Section 19 of the PCA in the judgment needs correction.”