No prior sanction required to try retired government official: Supreme Court

Vicky Nanjappa

New Delhi, Dec 06: The Supreme Court in an important judgment has said that there is no need to seek sanction to try retired government officials.

The court observed that such protection is available only to public servant during his service. A Bench comprising Justices U U Lalit and Indu Malhotra said that the requirement for sanction under Section 19 of the Prevention of Corruption Act is only for the serving government employees. There is no bar to initiate prosecution after retirement for the offence committed during the service period.

The judgment was delivered while quashing an order of the Karnataka High Court which had the protection must continue even after retirement.

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A protection available to a public servant while in service should also be available after his retirement. It cannot be forgotten that even after retirement he is prosecuted under the Prevention of Corruption Act. Section 19 (1) of the PC Act says that no court shall take cognisance of an offence to have have been committed by a public servant, except with previous sanction, the Karnataka High Court had said.

The Supreme Court said that the HC had erred in its decision and there was no occasion to entertain any application seeking discharge in respect of the offences punishable under the Act on the ground of absence of any sanction under Section 19 of the Act.

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An FIR had been filed against an assistant general manager of the Vijaya Bank for misusing his position and sanctioning a loan of Rs 3 crore to a company in 2010. The case was filed in 2012 after his retirement.

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