The Punjab and Haryana high court has directed the Punjab government to submit the details of all public servants against whom FIRs are registered for bribery, fraud and corruption, but challans not presented in trial courts, though investigations are over.
The government has been told to respond to the petition seeking submission of a report before the court. The directions came from the division bench comprising chief justice Sanjay Kishan Kaul and justice Augustine George Masih on a petition filed by Paramjit Singh, a man from Patiala, on Friday.
The petitioner submitted that many government officers in the state accused of corruption had sought protection under Section 197 (prosecution of judges and public servants) of the Criminal Procedure Code (CrPC) or Section 19 of the Prevention of Corruption Act, saying that the prosecution agency required sanction from the government before they were prosecuted.
He added that in response to one of his Right to Information (RTI) applications, the department of rural development and panchayats had replied that the vigilance bureau had caught district development and panchayat officers (DDPOs) Kripal Singh Khokhar, Lakhwinder Singh Dhaliwal and Mohinder Singh red-handed.
Paramjit Singh also submited that first-information reports (FIRs) had been registered against DDPOs Sanjiv Kumar (November 2008), Dhaliwal (September 2008) and Bhajan Singh (2002) and the prosecution sanction against Khokhar over FIR registered in January 2011 was pending. In the cases of Sanjiv Kumar and Mohinder Singh, the prosecution sanction had been declined, no request for its grant had been made in the case of Dhaliwal, and only in cases of Bhajan Singh and Bipan Kumar it had been granted in August 2004.
The petitioner submitted there were many cases of this kind in the state and if the prosecution did not seek sanction, then after investigation it was bound to submit the challan either for trial or cancellation of the FIR. The vigilance bureau, however, had not done so, he alleged.
The petition has suggested that in cases where the public servants were caught red-handed accepting bribe, the sanction for prosecution was not necessary under Section 19(1) of the prevention of Corruption Act and the VB should have presented challan against them before the court.