Previous sanction necessary for prosecution - Section 19
Updated: Apr, 17 2017
CHAPTER V- SANCTION FOR PROSECUTION AND OTHER MISCELLANEOUS PROVISIONS
Section 19 - Previous sanction necessary for prosecution.-
(1) No court shall take cognizance of an offence punishable under sections 7, 10, 11, 13 and 15 alleged to have been committed by a public servant, except with the previous sanction 1[save as otherwise provided in the Lokpal and Lokayuktas Act,2013]--
(a) in the case of a person who is employed in connection with the affairs of the Union and is not removable from his office save by or with the sanction of the Central Government, of that Government;
(b) in the case of a person who is employed in connection with the affairs of a State and is not removable from his office save by or with the sanction of the State Government, of that Government;
(c) in the case of any other person, of the authority competent to remove him from his office.
(2) Where for any reason whatsoever any doubt arises as to whether the previous sanction as required under sub- section (1) should be given by the Central Government or the State Government or any other authority, such sanction shall be given by that Government or authority which would have been competent to remove the public servant from his office at the time when the offence was alleged to have been committed.
(3) Notwithstanding anything contained in the Code of Criminal Procedure, 1973 (2 of 1974 .),--
(a) no finding, sentence or order passed by a special Judge shall be reversed or altered by a Court in appeal, confirmation or revision on the ground of the absence of, or any error, omission or irregularity in, the sanction required under sub- section (1), unless in the opinion of that court, a failure of justice has in fact been occasioned thereby;
(b) no court shall stay the proceedings under this Act on the ground of any error, omission or irregularity in the sanction granted by the authority, unless it is satisfied that such error, omission or irregularity has resulted in a failure of justice;
(c) no court shall stay the proceedings under this Act on any other ground and no court shall exercise the powers of revision in relation to any interlocutory order passed in any inquiry, trial, appeal or other proceedings.
(4) In determining under sub- section (3) whether the absence of, or any error, omission or irregularity in, such sanction has occasioned or resulted in a failure of justice the court shall have regard to the fact whether the objection could and should have been raised at any earlier stage in the proceedings.
Explanation.-- For the purposes of this section,--
(a) sanction includes competency of the authority to grant sanction;
(b) a sanction required for prosecution includes reference to any requirement that the prosecution shall be at the instance of a specified authority or with the sanction of a specified person or any requirement of a similar nature.
अध्याय 5 : अभियोजन के लिए स्वीकृति एवं अन्य विधिक उपबन्ध
19. अभियोजन पूर्व स्वीकृति की आवश्यकता –
(1) कोई न्यायालय धारा 7, 10, 11, 13, और 15 के अधीन दंडनीय अपराध का संज्ञान जिसके संबंध में यह अधिकथित है कि वह लोक सेवक द्वारा किया गया है, निम्नलिखित की पूर्व मंजूरी के बिना 1[लोकपाल और लोकायुक्त अधिनियम, 2013 में यथा अन्यथा उपबंधित के सिवाय] नहीं करेगा :-
(क) ऐसे व्यक्ति की दशा में जो संघ के मामलों के संबंध में नियोजित है और जो अपने पद से केन्द्रीय सरकार द्वारा या उसकी मंजूरी से हटाए जाने के सिवाय नहीं हटाया जा सकता है, केन्द्रीय सरकार;
(ख) ऐसे व्यक्ति की दशा में, जो राज्य के मामलों के संबंध में नियोजित है और जो अपने पद से राज्य सरकार द्वारा या उसकी मंजूरी से हटाए जाने के सिवाय नहीं हटाया जा सकता है, राज्य सरकार;
(ग) किसी अन्य व्यक्ति की दशा में उसे उसके पद से हटाने के लिए सक्षम प्राधिकारी।
(2) जहाँ किसी कारण से इस बाबत शंका उत्पन्न हो जाए, कि उपधारा (1) के अधीन अपेक्षित पूर्व मंजूरी केन्द्रीय या राज्य सरकार या किसी अन्य प्राधिकारी में से किसके द्वारा दी जानी चाहिए वहां ऐसी मंजूरी उस सरकार या प्राधिकारी द्वारा दी जाएगी जो लोक सेवक को उसके पद से उस समय हटाने के लिए सक्षम था जिस समय अपराध किया जाना अभिकथित है।
(3) दंड प्रक्रिया संहिता, 1973 (1974 का 2) में किसी बात के होते हुए भी :-
(क) उपधारा (1) के अधीन अपेक्षित मंजूरी में किसी अनियमितता, लोप या मंजूरी के कारण अपील न्यायालय द्वारा पुनरीक्षण, पुष्टिकरण या अपील में, विशेष न्यायालय द्वारा पारित कोई निष्कर्ष, दंडादेश या आदेश तब तक परिवर्तित या उल्टा नहीं जाएगा, जब तक कि उस न्यायालय की राय में उसके कारण यथार्थ में न्याय नहीं हो सका;
(ख) इस अधिनियम के अधीन की किसी कार्यवाही को किसी न्यायालय द्वारा प्राधिकारी द्वारा दी गई मंजूरी में किसी अनियमितता या लोप या त्रुटि के कारण रोका नहीं जाएगा जब तक कि यह समाधान न हो जाए कि ऐसी अनियमितता, लोप या त्रुटि के परिणामस्वरूप न्याय नहीं हो सका
(ग) इस अधिनियम के अधीन की किसी कार्यवाही, को किसी न्यायालय द्वारा किसी, अन्य आधारों पर रोका नहीं जाएगा और किसी न्यायालय द्वारा पुनरीक्षण के अधिकारों का प्रयोग किसी जाँच, सुनवाई, अपील या अन्य कार्यवाही में पारित किसी अन्तर्वती आदेश के संबंध में नहीं किया जाएगा।
(4) उपधारा (3) के अधीन अवधारणों के लिए, कि ऐसी मंजूरी के अभाव या किसी अनियमितता, लोप या त्रुटि के कारण न्याय नहीं हो सका है, न्यायालय इन तथ्यों को विचार में लेगा की आपत्ति, किसी - कार्यवाही के दौरान उठाई जा सकती थी और उठाई गई थी।
स्पष्टीकरण -- इस धारा के प्रयोजनों के लिए--
(क) ‘त्रुटि” में मंजूरी देने वाला प्राधिकारी की सक्षमता शामिल है;
(ख) ‘अभियोजन के लिए अपेक्षित मंजूरी” में किसी विहित प्राधिकारी के आवेदन पर किया जाने वाला अभियोजन की आवश्यकता का सन्दर्भ अथवा किसी विहित व्यक्ति द्वारा दी गई मंजूरी या इसी प्रकृति की अन्य अपेक्षा सम्मिलित है।
COMMENTARY AND CASE LAWS-
Sanction under Section 19 of the P.C. Act is a pre-condition for ordering investigation against a public servant under Section 156(3) of Cr.P.C. even at pre-cognizance stage- (L. NARAYANA SWAMY Vs. STATE OF KARNATAKA & ORS., SC:SEPTEMBER 06, 2016.) - Supreme Court has held that " In other words, we hold that an order directing further investigation under Section 156(3) of the Cr.P.C. cannot be passed in the absence of valid sanction." Relying on ratio in Anil Kumar & Ors. Vs M.K. Aiyappa & Anr. Case the Court has held that " ‘10. … And the jurisdiction of a Magistrate to take cognizance of any offence is provided by Section 190 of the Code, either on receipt of a complaint, or upon a police report or upon information received from any person other than a police officer, or upon his knowledge that such offence has been committed. So far as public servants are concerned, the cognizance of any offence, by any court, is barred by Section 197 of the Code unless sanction is obtained from the appropriate authority, if the offence, alleged to have been committed, was in discharge of the official duty. The section not only specifies the persons to whom the protection is afforded but it also specifies the conditions and circumstances in which it shall be available and the effect in law if the conditions are satisfied. The mandatory character of the protection afforded to a public servant is brought out by the expression, ‘no court shall take cognizance of such offence except with the previous sanction’. Use of the words ‘no’ and ‘shall’ makes it abundantly clear that the bar on the exercise of power of the court to take cognizance of any offence is absolute and complete. The very cognizance is barred. That is, the complaint cannot be taken notice of. According to Black's Law Dictionary the word ‘cognizance’ means ‘jurisdiction’ or ‘the exercise of jurisdiction’ or ‘power to try and determine causes’. In common parlance, it means taking notice of. A court, therefore, is precluded from entertaining a complaint or taking notice of it or exercising jurisdiction if it is in respect of a public servant who is accused of an offence alleged to have been committed during discharge of his official duty.’
- In the absence of a valid previous sanction , the trial Court not competent to take cognizance - (Nanjappa Vs.State of Karnataka SC:July 24, 2015)- Supreme Court has held that "A plain reading of Section 19(1) (supra) leaves no manner of doubt that the same is couched in mandatory terms and forbids courts from taking cognizance of any offence punishable under Sections 7, 10, 11, 13 and 15 against public servants except with the previous sanction of the competent authority enumerated in clauses (a), (b) and (c) to sub-section (1) of Section 19. The provision contained in sub-section (1) would operate in absolute terms but for the presence of sub-section (3) to Section 19 to which we shall presently turn. But before we do so, we wish to emphasise that the language employed in sub-section (1) of Section 19 admits of no equivocation and operates as a complete and absolute bar to any court taking cognizance of any offence punishable under Sections 7, 10, 11, 13 and 15 of the Act against a public servant except with the previous sanction of the competent authority."
- The question regarding validity of such sanction can be raised at any stage of the proceedings - (Nanjappa Vs.State of Karnataka SC:July 24, 2015)- Supreme Court has held that "The legal position regarding the importance of sanction under Section 19 of the Prevention of Corruption is thus much too clear to admit equivocation. The statute forbids taking of cognizance by the Court against a public servant except with the previous sanction of an authority competent to grant such sanction in terms of clauses (a), (b) and (c) to Section 19(1). The question regarding validity of such sanction can be raised at any stage of the proceedings. The competence of the court trying the accused so much depends upon the existence of a valid sanction. In case the sanction is found to be invalid the court can discharge the accused relegating the parties to a stage where the competent authority may grant a fresh sanction for prosecution in accordance with law. If the trial Court proceeds, despite the invalidity attached to the sanction order, the same shall be deemed to be non-est in the eyes of law and shall not forbid a second trial for the same offences, upon grant of a valid sanction for such prosecution.".
- Sections 19(3) and (4) meant for Court of Appeal or Revision and not for Special Judge- (Nanjappa Vs.State of Karnataka SC:July 24, 2015)- Sub- section 3 and 4 of Section 19 are meant for Court of Appeal and Revision and not for the Court of Special judge trying the case. Supreme Court has held that " A careful reading of sub-section (3) to Section 19 would show that the same interdicts reversal or alteration of any finding, sentence or order passed by a Special Judge, on the ground that thesanction order suffers from an error, omission or irregularity, unless of course the court before whom such finding, sentence or order is challenged in appeal or revision is of the opinion that a failure of justice has occurred by reason of such error, omission or irregularity. Sub-section (3), in other words, simply forbids interference with an order passed by Special Judge in appeal, confirmation or revisional proceedings on the ground that the sanction is bad save and except, in cases where the appellate orrevisional court finds that failure of justice has occurred by such invalidity. What is noteworthy is that sub-section(3) has no application to proceedings before the Special Judge, who is free to pass an order discharging the accused, if he is of the opinion that a valid order sanctioning prosecution of the accused had not been produced as required under Section 19(1). Sub-section (3), in our opinion, postulates a prohibition against a higher court reversing an order passed by the Special Judge on the ground of any defect, omission or irregularity in the order of sanction. It does not forbid a Special Judge from passing an order at whatever stage of the proceedings holding that the prosecution is not maintainable for want of a valid order sanctioning the same. The language employed in sub-section (3) is, in our opinion, clear and unambiguous. This is, in our opinion, sufficiently evident even from the language employed in sub-section (4) according to which the appellate or the revisional Court shall, while examining whether the error, omission or irregularity in the sanction had occasioned in any failure of justice, have regard to the fact whether the objection could and should have been raised at an early stage. Suffice it to say, that a conjoint reading of sub-sections 19(3) and (4) leaves no manner of doubt that the said provisions envisage a challenge to the validity of the order of sanction or the validity of the proceedings including finding, sentence or order passed by the Special Judge in appeal or revision before a higher Court and not before the Special Judge trying the accused."
- If sanction invalid , the Trial Court must discharge rather that recording an order of acuittal- (Nanjappa Vs.State of Karnataka SC:July 24, 2015)- Supreme Court has held that " The only error which the trial Court, in our opinion, committed was that, having held the sanction to be invalid, it should have discharged the accused rather than recording an order of acquittal on the merit of the case."
- Requirement to obtain sanction is mandatory - (Anil Kumar & Ors.Vs M.K. Aiyappa & Anr SC: October 01, 2013) - Supreme Court has held that " Sub-section (3) of Section 19 has an object to achieve, which applies in circumstances where a Special Judge has already rendered a finding, sentence or order. In such an event, it shall not be reversed or altered by a court in appeal, confirmation or revision on the ground of absence of sanction. That does not mean that the requirement to obtain sanction is not a mandatory requirement."
- Sanction to be given by Authority competent to remove the public servant - (Ajoy Acharya Vs State Bureau of Inv. against Eco. Offence SC: September 17, 2013) Supreme Court has held that "Therefore, it unquestionably follows that the sanction to prosecute can he given by an authority competent to remove the public servant from the office which he has misused or abused because that authority alone would be able to know whether there has been a misuse or abuse of the office by the public servant and not some rank outsider." It was also held that " The Legislature advisedly conferred power on the authority competent to remove the public servant from the office to grant sanction for the obvious reason that that authority alone would be able, when facts and evidence are placed before him, to judge whether a serious offence is committed or the prosecution is either frivolous or speculative. That authority alone would be competent to judge whether on the facts alleged, there has been an abuse or misuse of office held by the public servant. That authority would be in a position to know what was the power conferred on the office which the public servant holds, how that power could he abused for corrupt motive and whether prima facie it has been so done. That competent authority alone would know the nature and functions discharged by the public servant holding the office and whether the same has been abused or misused. It is the vertical hierarchy between the authority competent to remove the public servant from that office and the nature of the office held by the public servant against whom sanction is sought which would indicate a hierarchy and which would therefore, permit inference of knowledge about the functions and duties of the office and its misuse or abuse by the public servant. That is why the Legislature clearly provided that that authority alone would be competent to grant sanction which is entitled to remove the public servant against whom sanction is sought from the office."