NEWDELHI: Allowing a petition filed by Janata Party president Subramanian Swamy stating that Prime Minister Manmohan Singh was sitting on his application seeking sanction to prosecute former Telecom Minister A Raja in the 2G spectrum case, the Supreme Court on Tuesday said that the government must, from now on, accord sanction for prosecution within a time frame of three months.
The Bench, in the process, set aside the Delhi High Court judgment in this regard.
A Bench comprising Justices G S Singhvi and A K Ganguly said all proposals for sanction must be decided within three months after receiving such a request. Where consultation is required with Attorney General or Solicitor General, an extension of one more month may be allowed, but the request is to be sent in writing within the three months, Justice Ganguly said.
“If, at the end of the period, no sanction is given, it will be deemed to have been granted,” he ruled.
The petitioner, Swamy, has been pursuing the case in public interest for the last three years, the court noted.
The Bench examined questions, including whether a complaint can be filed by a citizen for prosecuting a public servant or a minister for an offence under the Prevention of Corruption Act, 1988.
The Bench also significantly pointed out that the government had received only one-sixth of the revenue it would have made if it had opted for auction of 2G spectrum, overruling two officials of the Telecom Minister—who were later shunted out—and also the Telecom Regulatory Authority of India in this regard. This resulted in a staggering loss of over `65,000 crore to the government as Swamy submitted, the court pointed out.
Justice Singhvi, who wrote the 43-page judgment said that after acquiring 2G licences, Swan Telecom and Unitech sold their stake to foreign companies Etisalat from UAE and Telenor from Norway—and made huge profits at the expense of public revenue. It is over this indiscretion of A Raja, then Telecom Minister, that Swa­my had sought sanction to pro­secute him under Prevention of Corruption Act, from PM, he said.