The Supreme Court on Tuesday quashed Section 6A of the Delhi Special Police Establishment Act that mandates the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) to take prior sanction of the government before investigating an officer of the rank of joint secretary and above in corruption cases.
The apex court's Constitution Bench of Chief Justice RM Lodha, justice AK Patnaik, justice Sudhansu Jyoti Mukhopadhaya, justice Dipak Misra and justice Fakkir Mohamed Ibrahim Kalifulla said Section 6A discriminates and divides the bureaucracy into two sets of officers and shields those at the senior level.
"All government officials have to be treated equally and have to face the same process of inquiry in graft cases," the SC said.
The apex court said the status of top bureaucrats is of no relevance in the offence under the Prevention of Corruption Act.
The SC said the government can not protect one of them while leaving the other to fend for himself.
A corrupt servant is a corrupt servant and corruption is enemy of the nation, it said.
The verdict reading down Section 6A of the Delhi Special Police Establishment Act, came on a petition by BJP leader Subramanian Swamy.
(With IANS and PTI inputs)