The Supreme Court on September 23, 2022 stayed a Lokayukta probe against former Karnataka Chief Minister B.S. Yediyurappa on the basis of a private complaint levelling graft allegations against him.
A Bench led by Justice D.Y. Chandrachud issued notice to the respondent, Abraham T.J., an activist and president of the Karnataka Anti-Graft and Environmental Forum, who had filed a complaint that Mr. Yediyurappa received ₹12.5 crore as bribe from a construction company in connection with a housing project of Bangalore Development Authority (BDA).
The Special Court had refused to order an investigation for want of sanction even though it had found that “there are some material to refer the complaint for investigation”.
However, the Karnataka High Court had restored the corruption complaint, following which, Mr. Yediyurappa had moved the Supreme Court in a special leave petition.
Senior advocates Mukul Rohatgi and Siddharth Dave, for Mr. Yediyurappa, said the High Court could not have restored the case without obtaining prior sanction. The allegations refer to acts done in the course of official duties.
The opposite side countered that no prior sanction was required for a special court to order a probe on the basis of a private complaint.
"The bar for enquiry, inquiry or investigation under Section 17A of the Prevention of Corruption Act, 1988, without previous approval is only a fetter on the power of the police authorities. Wherever the court itself is in seisin of a private complaint and proceeds to order for investigation by the authorities pursuant to order under Section 156(3) of Cr.P.C., such a bar under Section 17A of the P.C. Act would not be an embargo on the court’s power,” the Karnataka High Court had said.