Challenge to Sanction u/s. 19 of Prevention of Corruption Act, 1988

Judicial Review of Order of Sanction:

Invalidity of sanction where sanction order exists, can be raised on diverse grounds like non-availability of material before the sanctioning authority or bias of the sanctioning authority or the order of sanction having been passed by an authority not authorised or competent to grant such sanction. The above grounds are only illustrative and not exhaustive. All such grounds of invalidity or illegality of sanction would fall in the same category like the ground of invalidity of sanction on account of non-application of mind, the challenge to which can always be raised in the course of trial.

[Source:  Dinesh Kumar vs. Chairman, Airport Authority of India, (2012) 1 SCC 53; followed in Central Bureau Of Investigation  vs Mrs. Pramila Virendra Kumar decided by SC on 25 September, 2019]

The issue relating to validity of the sanction for prosecution could have been considered only during trial since essentially the conclusion reached by the High Court is with regard to the defective sanction since according to the High Court, the procedure of providing opportunity for explanation was not followed which will result in the sanction being defective.

The High Court has recorded that the statement of the accused made to the police during investigation is not admissible and the procedure adopted during investigation is found to be defective. Such conclusion would arise for consideration only during trial and if the statement made is retracted and there is no other material or evidence on record to establish the charge. Hence the very manner in which the High Court has proceeded to consider the matter is erroneous and the conclusion reached is unsustainable. The private respondents/accused in any event would have the opportunity of putting forth their defence in the trial and as such all contentions in that regard are to be left open and any of the observations herein are limited to the consideration of the applications for discharge and the same shall not prejudice the case of the accused.

[Central Bureau Of Investigation  vs Mrs. Pramila Virendra Kumar]

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