New Delhi: The Supreme Court on Monday favoured fixed time frame for governments to grant sanction to
prosecute its officials in corruption cases.
"There are cases where people (sanctioning authority)
are sitting for months. Three months is sufficient time. Why
stay the order. If there is a lacuna in our system and the
court tried to pluck them then there is no need to interfere.
We would consider this aspect for other cases also," a bench
headed by Justice R Raveendran said.
The remarks were made by the bench after it refused to
stay the Allahabad High Court`s order fixing the time period
of three months for granting sanction for the prosecution of
officials involved in corruption.
However, in an interim order, it extended the
time frame to six months and stayed part of the High Court`s
order in which it had said that CBI can prosecute government
officials without sanction from the authority.
The Court was hearing a petition filed by the Uttar
Pradesh government challenging High Court`s order in which it
passed a slew of direction while directing CBI probe into
alleged diversion of foodgrains meant for BPL families in the
state to Bangladesh and Nepal between 2001 to 2007 and beyond
by the government officials.
Observing that government cannot keep sitting on the
sanction request for an indefinite period, the High Court had
on December 3 last said the authority concerned should take
the decision within three months otherwise sanction would be
deemed to have been granted.
"...in all cases where State agencies, CBI or other
investigating agency moves an application for sanction under
the Code of Criminal Procedure or Prevention of Corruption Act
or any other law for the time being in force, a decision
should be taken within a period of three months. In absence of
any decision with due communication, it shall be deemed that
the sanction has been accorded," the High Court had said.
The state government in its petition also questioned
the six month time-frame ordered by the High Court for
completing the probe, saying "it is neither advisable nor
possible nor judicially permissible to draw or prescribe an
outer limit for conclusion of all criminal proceedings".
The High Court had passed a slew of directions on the
petition filed by advocate Vishwanath Chaturvedi alleging
large scale irregularities in distribution of foodgrains
supplied by the Centre under Sampoorna Gramin Rozgar Yojna
(SGRY) which were also illegally diverted to neighbouring
countries from Uttar Pradesh.