Punjab and Haryana High Court: Look into filing of plea in graft case

Saurabh Malik

Chandigarh, July 23

The Punjab Government has landed itself in an embarrassing situation in a corruption case, where its own “limb” refused to grant sanction for the prosecution of an employee nearly 13 years ago. Yet, the state chose to file a revision petition before the Punjab and Haryana High Court, challenging an order passed by the lower court, whereby it discharged the employee after observing it was not competent to take cognisance of the offence in the absence of the sanction.

Justice Avneesh Jhingan of the High Court said the matter was required to be looked into by the higher authorities, if deemed appropriate. Going into the background of the matter, the Bench observed that the State of Punjab had filed the criminal revision petition before the High Court challenging order dated September 5, 2019, whereby the respondent-employee was discharged in the FIR registered in March 2009 under the provisions of the Prevention of Corruption Act.

Justice Jhingan said the impugned order made it evident that the sanctioning authority had refused to grant the sanction to prosecute the employee by passing an order on October 22, 2009. The state counsel on the instructions of a Deputy Superintendent of Police and an Assistant Sub Inspector was not disputing the fact that the sanction for prosecution was not granted till date.

Dismissing the state’s pleas, Justice Jhingan observed that the state counsel, in view of factual position, was not able to point out any factual or legal error in the impugned order. As such, no case was made out for interference in the revision petition.

Before parting with the order, Justice Jhingan asserted it would not be out of place to note that the sanction for the prosecution was not granted by the “limb” of the state. On the other hand, the order passed by the court on settled proposition of law that cognisance under the Act cannot be taken without prior sanction was impugned in the court.

“If deemed appropriate, the matter should be looked into by the higher officials with regard to the noting and opinion given for filing of the present petition and fix responsibility if so desired,” Justice Jhingan concluded.

The case

The state had challenged orders discharging its employees in corruption case even though its ‘limb’ had refused prosecution sanction.

Punjab and Haryana High Court: Look into filing of plea in graft case