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Sec.197 Cr. P.C. – want of sanction – Whether it can be raised at stage of trial by Accused – Trial court dismissed the objections raised by Accused on the ground the in some cases Sanction not obtained as he is an IAS officer and in some cases sanction obtained much prior to framing of charges – High court also dismissed the revision giving liberty to raise this issue at any time during trial – Apex court held that it has been consistently held that it can be no part of the duty of a public servant or acting in the discharge of his official duties to commit any of the offences covered by Section 406, 409, 420 etc. and the official status of the public servant can, at best, only provide an opportunity for commission of the offences. Therefore, no sanction for prosecution of the public servant for such offences would be required under Section 197 of the Code. Notwithstanding the above, the High Court had granted liberty to the appellant to raise the issue of sanction, if so required, depending on the evidence that may come on record in the course of the trial. = CHANDAN KUMAR BASU … APPELLANT (S) VERSUS STATE OF BIHAR … RESPONDENT (S) = 2014 – July. Part – http://judis.nic.in/supremecourt/filename=41746

Sec.197 Cr. P.C. – want of sanction – Whether it can be raised at stage of trial by Accused – Trial court dismissed the objections raised by Accused on the ground the in some cases Sanction not obtained as he is an IAS officer and in some cases sanction obtained much prior to framing of charges – High court also dismissed the revision giving liberty to raise this issue at any time during trial – Apex court held that  it  has  been consistently held that it can be no part of the duty of a public servant  or acting in the discharge  of  his  official  duties  to  commit  any  of  the offences covered by Section 406, 409, 420 etc. and the  official  status  of the public servant can, at best, only provide an opportunity for  commission of the offences.  Therefore,  no sanction  for  prosecution  of  the  public servant for such offences would be required under Section 197 of  the  Code. Notwithstanding the above,  the  High  Court  had  granted  liberty  to  the appellant to raise the issue of sanction, if so required, depending  on  the evidence that may come on record in the course of the  trial. =

the appellant filed revision applications before  the

learned Sessions Judge, Patna challenging the orders passed by  the  learned

Trial Court, primarily, on the ground that  the  said  orders  were  without

jurisdiction and incompetent in law inasmuch as sanction for prosecution  of

the  appellant  under  Section  197  of  the  Code  of  Criminal   Procedure

(hereinafter for short ‘the Code’) was not obtained or granted prior to  the

date of taking  of  cognizance.  The  revision  applications  filed  by  the

appellant were dismissed by the  learned  Additional  Sessions  Judge,  Fast

Track Court No.2, Patna by orders of different dates.  The  said  orders  of

the learned Additional Sessions Judge were challenged before the High  Court

of Patna in Crl. Misc. No. 3187/2011, 3190/2011,  3191/2011  and  3192/2011.

The High Court by the common impugned order dated 27.11.2012  negatived  the

challenge made by the appellant leading to the present appeals. =

whether the acts giving rise  to  the  alleged  offences  had

been committed by the accused in the actual or purported  discharge  of  his

official duties.

In a series of  pronouncements  commencing  with  Satwant

Singh vs. State of Punjab[2]; Harihar  Prasad  vs.  State  of  Bihar[3]  and

Prakash Singh Badal & Anr. vs. State  of  Punjab  &  Ors.[4]   

it  has  been

consistently held that it can be no part of the duty of a public servant  or

acting in the discharge  of  his  official  duties  to  commit  any  of  the

offences covered by Section 406, 409, 420 etc. and the  official  status  of

the public servant can, at best, only provide an opportunity for  commission

of the offences.  

Therefore,  no sanction  for  prosecution  of  the  public

servant for such offences would be required under Section 197 of  the  Code.

Notwithstanding the above,  the  High  Court  had  granted  liberty  to  the

appellant to raise the issue of sanction, if so required, depending  on  the

evidence that may come on record in the course of the  trial.  

Despite  the

view taken by this Court in the series of pronouncements referred to  above,

the opportunity that has been provided by the High Court to the  benefit  of

the appellant need not be foreclosed by us inasmuch as

in Matajog Dobey  vs.

H.C. Bhari[5], P.K. Pradhan vs. State of Sikkim[6] and Prakash  Singh  Badal

(supra)

this Court had consistently  held  that  the  question  of  sanction

under Section 197 of the Code can be raised at  any  time  after  cognizance

had been taken and may have to be determined  at  different  stages  of  the

proceeding/trial.

The observations of this Court  in  this  regard  may  be usefully extracted below.

Matajog Dobey  vs.  H.C. Bhari (para 21)

“The question may arise at any stage of the proceedings. 

The  complaint  may

not disclose that the act constituting the offence was done or purported  to

be done in the discharge of official duty; 

but facts subsequently coming  to

light on a police  or  judicial  inquiry  or  even  in  the  course  of  the

prosecution  evidence  at  the  trial,  may  establish  the  necessity   for

sanction. 

Whether sanction is necessary or not may  have  to  be  determined

from stage to stage. The necessity may reveal itself in the  course  of  the

progress of the case.”

P.K. Pradhan vs. State of Sikkim (para 15)

“It is well settled that question of sanction under Section 197 of the  Code

can be raised any time  after  the  cognizance;  may  be  immediately  after

cognizance or framing of charge or even at the time of conclusion  of  trial

and after conviction as well. But there may be certain cases  where  it  may

not  be  possible  to  decide  the  question  effectively   without   giving

opportunity to the defence to establish that what he did  was  in  discharge

of official duty. In order to come to the conclusion whether  claim  of  the

accused, that the act that he did was in course of the  performance  of  his

duty was reasonable one and neither pretended nor fanciful, can be  examined

during the  course  of  trial  by  giving  opportunity  to  the  defence  to

establish it. In such an eventuality, the question  of  sanction  should  be

left open to be decided in the main judgment which  may  be  delivered  upon

conclusion of the trial.”

Prakash Singh Badal & Anr. vs. State of Punjab & Ors. [Para 27]

“The question relating to the need of sanction  under  Section  197  of  the

Code is not necessarily to be considered as soon as the complaint is  lodged

and on the allegations contained therein. This question  may  arise  at  any

stage of the proceeding. The question whether sanction is necessary  or  not

may have to be determined from stage to stage. …”

10.   In view of the discussions we will  have  no  occasion  to  cause  any

interference with the orders passed by the High  Court  in  the  proceedings

instituted before it by the  appellant  which  have  been  impugned  in  the

appeals under consideration.  Consequently, we dismiss all the  appeals  and

maintain the orders passed by the High Court in all the cases before it.

2014 – July. Part – http://judis.nic.in/supremecourt/filename=41746 – for full text – LAW FOR ALL

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