Question: Prosecution sanction by competent authority is granted after lapse of stipulated period mandated and specified under Section 19 of the P. C. amendment act 2018. Prosecution sanctioned not in three months is it valid? Whether the sanction is valid or invalid.? FIR No 03/2017 dt 27.2.2017. Final report dated 13.03.2019 for sanction is received by the sanctioning Authority on 30.04.2019. Mandated and specified period (including grace period) expired on 14.08.2019.
The PSO was ordered on 19.04.2021 and a copy of the same was served to the accused on 21.06.2021. Charge sheet is filed on 22.04.2022 in court of session. Court summons served on accused on 07.06.2022. The deemed sanction expires on 30.07.2019. Time limit to file charge sheet expired on 14.08.2019 as per the SC judgement in case Subramanian Swamy vs. Dr. Manmohan Singh & Another. Whether cognizance taken by court on delayed charge? Whether the PSO is valid? The PSO not following the stipulated period is invalid?
Asked from: Karnataka
Section 19 of the P.C. Act which bars a Court from taking cognizance of cases of corruption against a public servant unless the Central or the State Government, has accorded sanction.
There was no time limit for granting sanction prior to the amendment act 2018 coming into force. It is amended in pursuance of the guidelines issued by the Hon’ble Supreme Court in Dr. Subramanian Swamy vs. Dr. Manmohan Singh & Another [2012 Cri. L. J. 1519].
According to Section 19 of the Prevention of Corruption Act, the appropriate authority shall endeavour to convey the decision (sanction for prosecution) within three months from the date of receipt of proposal.
According to sub-section 3 of Section 19 (P. C. Act) no sentence, finding or order shall not be reversed only on the ground of absence of, any error, omission or irregularity in the sanction unless the opinion of the court a failure of justice has been occasioned thereby.
The Supreme Court in its judgement Dr. Subramanian Swamy [2012 Cri. L. J. 1519] mandated that “At the end of the extended period of time limit, if no decision is taken, sanction will be deemed to have been granted to the proposal for prosecution, and the prosecuting agency or the private complainant will proceed to file the charge-sheet/complaint in the Court to commence prosecution within 15 days of the expiry of the aforementioned time limit.”
You cannot challenge the validity of sanction on the ground that there is violation of provisions of Section 19 because it has been granted after the lapse of three months. Section 19 does not make it mandatory that in every case the appropriate authority must take its decision within the stipulated time period.
In P. P. Sharma vs State of Bihar [1992 Supp (1) SCC 222] the Supreme Court held that grant of sanction is an administrative act.
Delay in granting sanction does not vitiate the trial. Sanction is valid if the appropriate authority has granted after due consideration. Hence, delay in granting sanction cannot be treated as a sole ground which has vitiated the proceeding. If there is any defect in granting sanction then you can challenge it before the trial court.
In Nanjappa vs State of Karnataka [2015 AIR SCW 4432] the Supreme Court held that grant of proper sanction by a competent authority has been a sine quo non for taking cognisance of the offence.