Government sanction must to probe public servants: SC - The New Indian Express

Government sanction must to probe public servants: SC

Published: 02nd October 2013 07:50 AM

Last Updated: 02nd October 2013 07:52 AM

The Supreme Court on Tuesday held that a magistrate cannot order probe against a public servant in a corruption complaint if there is no sanction given by the government.

A bench of Justices K S Radhakrishnan and A K Sikri said requirement of sanction is mandatory and quashed the order of a trial court directing probe against a public servant by Karnataka Lokayukta on the grounds that there was no sanction taken from the government authority. “Once it is noticed that there was no previous sanction, the magistrate cannot order investigation against a public servant while invoking powers under Section 156(3) CrPC (for directing probe),” the bench said.

It turned down the plea of the complainant that the requirement of sanction is only procedural in nature and not mandatory.

“Sub-section (3) of Section 19 has an objective to achieve, which applies in circumstances where a special judge has already rendered a finding, sentence or order. In such an event, it shall not be reversed or altered by a court in appeal, confirmation or revision on the ground of absence of sanction. That does not mean that the requirement to obtain sanction is not mandatory,” the bench said.

It upheld the Karnataka High Court’s order that the special judge could not have taken notice of the private complaint unless the same was accompanied by a sanction order.

“If the law requires sanction and the court proceeds against a public servant without sanction, the public servant has a right to raise the issue of jurisdiction as the entire action may be rendered void ab-initio,” the apex court said.


A private complaint had been filed by one Anil Kumar of Hesaraghatta before a special Lokayukta court.

The allegation was that Aiyappa as the Bangalore Urban Deputy Commissioner had passed four orders with regard to 32 acres of government land at Madappanahalli village in Hesaraghatta.

It was alleged that on a single application for restoration of the land by one Narasimaiah, Aiyappa granted the land in favour of the applicant. He later allegedly sold the land to five relatives of Yelahanka MLA S R Vishwanath. The Lokayukta police had also arrested Aiyappa and three other government officials in March this year. They were arrested on charges of forgery, cheating and conspiracy.

Aiyappa had challenged the Lokayukta court’s order of investigation as per section 156 (3) of CrPC, stating prior sanction was necessary. The High Court quashed the FIR stating prior sanction was a must before a Lokayukta court orders probe against government servant.

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