New Delhi: A Delhi court on Monday set a deadline of four months for the Centre to grant sanction to prosecute four army officials, who are accused in a criminal defamation case along with former Army Chief General V K Singh.
The court directed complainant former Lieutenant General Tejinder Singh to approach the Centre on the issue and clarified that if the government fails to grant or refuse sanction to prosecute the accused within the stipulated three-four months, then the permission would be deemed to have been granted.
"In the light of the aforesaid, the applications filed by accused persons are allowed to the extent that the complainant (Tejinder) is directed to approach the Central Government and obtain sanction under section 197 (2) of CrPC to prosecute the accused persons," Metropolitan Magistrate Jay Thareja said.
".... A rider is attached to the aforesaid direction i.E that in case the Central government fails to grant/refuse the sanction within 3-4 months of the application filed by the complainant, the complainant would be at liberty to approach this court and seek continuance of the present case on the premise that the sanction may be deemed to have been granted by the Central government," the magistrate said.
The order came on the applications filed by four accused, including a retired Army official, for appropriate directions or dropping of proceedings against them for want of sanction to prosecute them under section 197 (2) of the CrPC.
Section 197 (2) of CrPC stipulates that the court should not take cognisance of alleged offence without prior sanction of the government.
The four accused, the then Vice Chief of Army S K Singh, retired Lieutenant General B S Thakur (the then DG of Military Intelligence), Major General S L Narshiman (ADG of Public Information) and Colonel Hitten Sawhney, were summoned by the court along with V K Singh on a criminal defamation complaint filed by Tejinder Singh.