Time limit for Prosecution for Corruption

Delay in granting sanction for prosecution of public servants:

Time limit for sanction for prosecution:

Prosecution for corruption in India is dealt with by section 19 of Prevention of Corruption Act, 1988 which requires that prosecution must obtain prior sanction from the Government. In practice the Government would sit on the application for sanction forever. The supreme court has recently read down this provision and set a time limit within which, if no decision is taken, the permission to prosecute shall be deemed to have been granted.

Deemed sanction for prosecution in case of delay:

The Parliament should consider the Constitutional imperative of Article 14 enshrining the rule of law wherein `due process of law’ has been read into by introducing a time limit in  Section 19 of the P.C. Act 1988 for its working in a reasonable manner. The Parliament may, in my opinion, consider the following guidelines:
a) All proposals for sanction placed before any Sanctioning Authority, empowered to grant sanction for the prosecution of a public servant under section 19 of the P.C. Act must be decided within a period of three months of the receipt of the proposal by the concerned authority.
b) Where consultation is required with the Attorney General or the Solicitor General or the Advocate General of the State, as the case may be, and the same is not possible within the three months mentioned in clause (a) above, an extension of one month period may be allowed, but the request for consultation is to be sent in writing within the three months mentioned in (a) above. A copy of the said request will be sent to the prosecuting agency or the private complainant to intimate them about the extension of the time limit.
c) 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 chargesheet/complaint in the court to commence prosecution within 15 days of the expiry of the aforementioned time limit.

However the above Observation has been made by only one Judge i.e. Asok Kumar Ganguli, J. and not assented by G.S.Singhvi, J., it only has persuasive value at present. At best this paper tiger can only persuade future judges or legislatures to make it binding.

[Source: Subramanium Swamy v. Manmohan Singh (Supreme Court of India)]

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