The Supreme Court’s observations with regard to grant of sanction for prosecution of then Telecom Minister A. Raja in the 2G case were on Tuesday welcomed by the Prime Minister’s Office which said it was a vindication of Prime Minister Manmohan Singh.
The PMO said the directions of the Supreme Court are being examined.
“We welcome the fact that both the learned judges (of the Supreme Court) have completely vindicated the Prime Minister whilst appreciating the onerous duties of his office,” a statement issued by the PMO said.
The statement came after the Supreme Court observed: “We have no doubt that if the Prime Minister had been apprised of the true, factual and legal position regarding the representation made by the appellant, he would have surely taken appropriate decision and would not have allowed the matter to linger for a period of more than one year.”
The court, at the same time, blamed the PMO for sitting on the plea to the Prime Minister for granting sanction to prosecute Mr. Raja in the 2G spectrum allocation scam.
“Government is examining their (the court’s) directions regarding the manner in which applications are to be dealt with,” the PMO said.
Earlier in the day, the court held that filing of a complaint under the Prevention of Corruption Act is a Constitutional right of a citizen and the competent authority decide within a time frame on granting sanction of prosecution of a public servant.
Setting aside a Delhi High Court judgement refusing to give direction to the Prime Minister on the request for sanction of prosecution against the then Telecom Minister A. Raja in the 2G scam case, a two-judge bench of the court held that if the sanction is not given within four months then it is deemed to have been granted.
The bench, comprising justices G.S. Singhvi and A.K. Ganguly, held that Janata Party president Subramanian Swamy, who had sought sanction for prosecution of Mr. Raja, had the locus standi to seek it.
It said sanction should be granted within a time frame and the competent authority shall take action in accordance with the guidelines laid down by the Supreme Court in the Vineet Narain case of 1996.
‘Consider guidelines on sanction provision’
The Supreme Court has called for intervention of Parliament for “restructuring” the provision of the Prevention of Corruption Act which mandates previous sanction for prosecution of a public servant.
“In my judgement the Parliament and the appropriate authority must consider restructuring Section 19 of the Prevention of Corruption Act in such a manner as to make it consonant with reason, justice and fair play,” Justice Ganguly said.
Justice Ganguly wrote a separate judgement concurring with the findings of Justice Singhvi who held that the competent authority has to take decision on grant or denial of sanction within a time frame and that filing a complaint under the Prevention of Corruption Act is a Constitutional right of a citizen.
Justice Ganguly laid down guidelines for consideration by Parliament and said, “All proposals for sanction placed before any sanctioning authority, empowered to grant sanction for the prosecution of a public servant under section 19 of the PC Act must be decided within a period of three months of the receipt of the proposal by the concerned authority“.
He added that “an extension of one month period may be allowed” in case consultation is required with the Attorney-General or the Solicitor-General or the Advocate-General of the State and the same is not possible within the three months but the request for consultation is to be sent in writing within the first three months.