The High Court on Tuesday indicated that it intends to modify the memo issued by the state government in 1999 to constitute an advisory committee to review cases of corruption against members of legislature.
The memo has put several restrictions in the way of the Anti-Corruption Bureau (ACB),making it difficult for the agency to move forward in such cases.
As per the memo, even in cases where preliminary enquiry discloses an offence by a legislator, the probe agency cannot file an FIR. It has to approach an advisory committee to be constituted by the state government, which will review the matter and advise the ACB about the next course of action.
Ironically, the committee was never set up and the ACB could not proceed against public representatives in the last 15 years. The court is now examining the validity of the memo.
A division bench comprising chief justice Kalyan Jyoti Sengupta and justice PV Sanjay Kumar was dealing with a PIL by OM Debara, a resident of the city, in connection with the liquor syndicates scam.
The bench said when there is no immunity to elected representatives under the Prevention of Corruption Act, the question of reviewing such cases by a committee does not arise.
When the bench was about to dictate the order, Gandra Mohan Rao, counsel for Debara, brought to the notice of the court that the ACB has been seeking explanation from persons against whom corruption charges were leveled. It is an unknown practice in law, he said.