New Delhi, January 31: Setting aside the Delhi high court judgement on sanction of prosecution in 2G case, the Supreme Court on Tuesday held that filing of a complaint under the Prevention of Corruption Act is a constitutional right of a citizen and the competent authority should take a decision on giving the sanction within a time frame.
If the sanction is not given within four months then it is deemed to have been granted, the two judge bench of the apex court held in a case filed by Janata Party chief Subramanian Swamy seeking a direction to the Prime Minister for sanction to prosecute the then telecom minister A Raja.
The bench comprising justices G S Singhvi and A K Ganguly held that Swamy had the locus standi to seek sanction for Raja’s prosecution.
It said sanction should be granted within a time frame and the competent authority shall take action in accordance with the guidelines laid down by the apex court in the Vineet Narain case of 1996.
Justice Ganguly, who wrote a separate judgement, agreed with Justice Singhvi and said sanction would be deemed to be granted if the competent authority fails to take a decision within a period of four months.
The bench said that right to file a complaint against a public servant under the Prevention of Corruption Act is a constitutional right.
The bench said it was not accepting certain submissions made by the Attorney General in defending the stand of Prime Minister’s Office.
The court said it was not declaring as ultra vires the provisions of the Prevention of Corruption Act.
The apex court had reserved its judgement on November 24, 2010 on the petition filed by Swamy alleging that there was delay in taking action on his plea seeking sanction to prosecute Raja.
Swamy, who had made the Prime Minister a party in the case, had initially sought a direction to the Prime Minister to take decision on sanction to prosecute Raja but later on he sought framing of guidelines on the issue as his plea became infructuous with the resignation of the DMK leader as telecom minister on November 14, 2010.
He had alleged that there was an “inordinate delay” on part of the prime minister in taking a decision on his plea for grant of sanction to prosecute Raja in the scam and his plea was neither allowed not rejected for over 16 months.
The PMO had, however, refuted all the allegations and filed an affidavit before the apex court maintaining that the request for sanction for prosecution of Raja was considered by the prime minister and that he was advised that evidence collected by CBI was necessary before taking a decision.
The government said as the CBI probe was going on it was necessary to wait for its completion before taking any decision on granting sanction.
Swamy had approached the apex court challenging the Delhi High Court judgement that had refused to pass any direction to the prime minister for taking decision on sanction.