New Delhi: The Supreme Court on Tuesday held that a Magistrate cannot order probe against a public servant in a corruption complaint if there is no sanction given by the government.
A bench of justices KS Radhakrishnan and AK Sikri said that requirement to obtain sanction is mandatory and quashed the order of a trial court directing probe against a public servant by Karnataka Lokayukta on a private complaint filed against the officer on the ground that there was no sanction taken from the concerned government authority.
Once it is noticed that there was no previous sanction, the Magistrate cannot order investigation against a public servant while invoking powers under Section 156(3) CrPC (for directing probe)," the bench said.
It turned down the plea of the complainant that the requirement of sanction is only procedural in nature and not mandatory.
"Senior counsel appearing for the appellants raised the contention that the requirement of sanction is only procedural in nature and hence, directory or else Section 19(3) (relating to sanction) would be rendered otiose. We find it difficult to accept that contention," the bench said.