The Supreme Court on Tuesday asked the Centre to furnish a list of corruption cases against public servants pending in courts where prosecution was hanging for want of sanction.
During hearing on Janata Party chief Subramanian Swamy’s plea seeking guidelines for grant of sanction to prosecute public servants in corruption cases, the court said hundreds of CBI cases were pending for years for want of sanction.
“Sanction which is supposed to be a shield against frivolous complaints has now become a sword against genuine complaints of corruption,” a bench of justices GS Singhvi and AK Ganguly said. “We can take judicial note of rising incidents of corruption in public places.”
Maintaining that crimes must be investigated promptly, the SC said, “If a crime is committed there is no point in investigating it after 10 years. We are trying to make out a reasonable time. It is a fetter on court’s power.”
The bench asked Attorney General GE Vahanvati to give the list of cases pending in courts awaiting sanction for prosecution. However, furnishing these details could be an embarrassment for the government and Central Vigilance Commissioner (CVC) PJ Thomas as the CVC, who has such data, has himself escaped prosecution in Kerala’s palmolein scam for want of sanction.
The direction comes a day after another bench headed by the Chief Justice of India questioned the CVC’s appointment, asking, “Will the CVC be able to function? In every matter he will face embarrassment.”
On Swamy’s plea for sanction to prosecute A Raja in the 2G-spectrum scam, Vahanvati said, his demand was premature as he had not filed any complaint before a court. Contrary to law ministry’s advice to the PM to wait for CBI probe before deciding on Swamy’s plea, Vahanvati said, “The sanctioning authority must apply his own mind in deciding on such a plea and he cannot embark on an independent enquiry.”