A division bench of the Punjab and Haryana high court on Monday dismissed Punjab IAS officer Vijay Kumar Janjua’s petition challenging the high court single-judge’s order. The decision came from the division bench headed by justice SK Mittal.
In January, the single-judge bench had dismissed Janjua’s plea challenging his prosecution sanction, granted by the Punjab government in 2010 under the Prevention of Corruption Act.
State vigilance bureau officers had arrested Janjua while allegedly accepting a bribe of Rs. 2 lakh from a Ludhiana-based industrialist on November 9, 2009, and a first-information report (FIR) was registered on the same day under the Prevention of Corruption Act against him at the vigilance bureau police station, SAS Nagar. On November 11, 2009, Janjua was removed from the office of director, industries, Punjab.
The single-judge bench had in its earlier order said that Janjua had an effective remedy of raising the issue before the SAS Nagar criminal court, where the trial was pending and the same was not required to be gone into by the high court.
However, Janjua chose to challenge the single-judge’s order before the division bench. He had sought quashing of the order dated April 27, 2010, stating that vide this order the Punjab government without jurisdiction and authority had given the prosecution sanction. Arguing his case himself in the court, Janjua had submitted that in terms of the All India Services (Discipline and Appeal) Rules, 1969, the penalty of dismissal, removal or compulsory retirement could be imposed only by an order passed by the central government.
The petitioner had submitted that in the past, prosecution sanction against IAS officers serving in Punjab, who had been prosecuted under the Prevention of Corruption Act, was granted by the central government.
However, the Punjab government had defended the prosecution sanction by stating that as the state was competent to remove the petitioner from the office, it was also competent to grant sanction. It was submitted that Janjua was in service with the state government since August 21, 1989, and he had committed the offence while serving in the state.
Janjua is presently the secretary of the state freedom fighters department.