Officer charged with verifying affidavits by giving false report

A special court here has ruled that sanction for prosecution of a public servant and consequent removal from office can be done by department he was serving at present, the Sushruta Trauma Centre, though the alleged offence was committed while serving in another department, the Office of the Registrar of Cooperative Societies (ROCS).

The accused person, A. K. Shankaran had moved an application under Section 19 of the Prevention of Corruption Act before Special Judge Dharmesh Kumar Sharma claiming that cognisance of the charge sheet was taken by the court in the absence of proper/legal sanction.

The case against Mr. Shankaran is that while working at the office of the ROCS, he allegedly verified 48 affidavits of members of Jai Bhagwan Cooperative Group Housing Society giving a false report that the same were correct and genuine while they were not, so as to assist his co-accused in reviving the Society based on false documents.

The sanction for prosecution was granted by the Medical Superintendent of the Sushruta Trauma Centre on January 19, 2009. However counsel for the accused opposed this noting that the said offence was not committed by his client while in service at the hospital.

The counsel also submitted that the sanction should have come from the ROCS as it would have a better understanding of the facts gathered by the CBI. It was also argued that the ROCS alone could know about the entire procedure of verification of affidavits of the members submitted for revival of a Society, and thus would have arrived at a just and fair decision.

However, Mr. Sharma did not agree with the prosecution arguments noting that for determining the “competent authority” to remove the public servant from service, “his last appointment in the substantive capacity to the post held by him at the relevant time only has to be taken into consideration and not his initial appointment or previous appointments”.

The judge also pointed out that the Registrar of Societies' opinion would hardly be of any significance since the accused is not within his administrative and disciplinary control, and thus had no power to remove him.

“Last but not the least, assuming for the sake of convenience that there has been any irregularity in the consideration of grant of sanction against the accused, the same is a matter of trial and it remains to be seen whether any miscarriage of justice or prejudice has been caused to the accused,” Mr. Sharma said dismissing the application, noting that the defence had conceded that the accused was a public servant employed by the Delhi Government and that he could be transferred from one department to other.

‘Registrar of Societies' opinion would hardly be of any significance since the accused is not within his control'