STATE OF PUNJAB Versus LABH SINGH

IN THE SUPREME COURT OF INDIA

CRIMINAL APPELLATE JURISDICTION

CRIMINAL APPEAL NO.2168 OF 2010

STATE OF PUNJAB …. Appellant

Versus

LABH SINGH …. Respondent

In the present case the public servants in question had retired on 13.12.1999 and 30.04.2000. The sanction to prosecute them was rejected subsequent to their retirement i.e. first on 13.09.2000 and later on 24.09.2003. The public servants having retired from service there was no occasion to consider grant of sanction under section 19 of the POC Act. The law on the point is quite clear that sanction to prosecute the public servant for the offences under the POC Act is not required if the public servant had already retired on the date of cognizance by the court. In S.A.Venkataraman v. State while construing section 6(1) of the Prevention of Corruption Act, 1947 which provision is in pari materia with section 19(1) of the POC Act, this court held that no sanction was necessary in the case of a person who had ceased to be the public servant at the time the court was asked to take cognizance. The view taken in S. A. Venkataraman (supra) was adopted by this court in C.R. Bansi v. State of Maharashtra and in Kalicharan Mahapatra v. State of Orissa and by the Constitution Bench of this court in K. Veeraswamy v. Union of India. The High Court was not therefore justified in setting aside the order passed by the Special Judge insofar as charge under the POC Act was concerned. However as regards charges for the offences punishable under the IPC concerned the High Court was absolutely right in setting aside the order of the Special Judge. Unlike section 19 of the POC Act, the protection under section 197 of Cr.P.C. is available to the concerned public servant even after retirement. Therefore, if the matter was considered by the sanctioning authority and the sanction to prosecute was rejected first on 13.09.2000 and secondly on 24.09.2003, the court could not have taken cognizance in so far as the offences punishable under the Indian Penal Code are concerned. As laid down by this Court in State of Himachal Pradesh v. Nishant Sareen5, the recourse in such cases is either to challenge the order of the Sanctioning Authority or to approach it again if there is any fresh material….read more