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Sanjay S/O Mahadeo Ingle vs. State Of Mah. Thr. Anti Corruption Bureau - (High Court of Bombay) (11 Nov 2022)

Competency of the Sanctioning Authority can be tested at any stage of the proceedings



The Petitioner raises a challenge to the order, by which the Special Court has rejected application claiming discharge. The Petitioner (accused/Talathi) was facing the prosecution for the offence punishable under Sections 7, 13(1)(d), 13(2) of the Prevention of Corruption Act ('PC Act'). The Petitioner has applied for discharge on account of invalid sanction to prosecute in terms of Section 19 of the PC Act, however the Trial Court has declined to discharge the petitioner. Hence, present petition.

The prosecution is under a special Act namely PC Act. Section 19 of the PC Act puts a specific embargo on the Court to take cognizance in absence of valid sanction. In view of decision of the Supreme Court in case of Nanjapp Vs. State of Karnataka, absence of sanction vitiates the trial, meaning thereby it goes to the root of the case. It conveys that the competency of the Sanctioning Authority can be tested at any stage of the proceedings. In view of the special requirement of the mandate of law, the general proposition that after framing of charge, there could be no claim of discharge would not apply, especially in view of the ratio laid down by the Supreme Court in case of Nanjapp Vs. State of Karnataka.

There is no embargo on the Trial Court to consider the challenge about validity of sanction after recording of evidence in view of peculiar fact of this case. The Trial Court has not dealt the challenge about validity of sanction on its merits, but declined to entertain application only because charge was framed long back and now evidence has commenced.

The Special Court is required to decide the challenge on its own merits despite stage of trial. Impugned order is hereby quashed and set aside. The Special Court shall decide application afresh in the light of above observation on the point of validity of sanction. Petition allowed.


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