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SC to decide on prosecution of IAS officers on deputation

Officer's petition says he can't be prosecuted without DoPT's sanction, even if state he was deputed to okays it. Bhadra Sinha reports on the legal implications.

delhi Updated: Jan 22, 2012 22:52 IST

Can IAS officers be prosecuted under Prevention of Corruption Act (PCA) without appropriate sanctions if they are alleged to have committed an act of corruption on deputation?

The Supreme Court has decided to examine this issue as an IAS officer of the 1976 batch has questioned the Madhya Pradesh High Court’s verdict giving green signal to his prosecution without sanction.

The CBI has filed a chargesheet against the officer for an offence he allegedly committed while encadred to the state and nominated to an industrial development corporation. When the chargesheet was filed, he was posted with the Centre.

Challenging the HC judgment through counsel Amit Prasad, the officer has drawn a distinction between corruption cases involving politicians and bureaucrats. According to him, the law laid down by SC on the sanction for prosecution in the Prakash Singh Badal and AR Antulay cases do not apply to IAS officers who are continuous government servants.

A bench headed by Justice P Sathasivam issued notice to the CBI and sought its response on the question. The outcome of the appeal would clear the doubts on whether IAS officers are to be treated as intermittent government servants with multiple competent authority.

According to the petitioner, there are three distinct classes of sanction provided under Section 19 of the PCA. According to Section 19(1)(a) and 19(1)(b), the legislature has provided for sanction of two classes of government servants — those appointed in accordance with Article 309 to 312 of Constitution. But provisions of sanction under Section 19(1)(c) provides for sanction of intermittent government servants in the nature of political leaders, political appointees and ad hoc appointees like PSU chairmen etc.

The petitioner stated the HC verdict declaring him an ad hoc employee of the state and, thus, of the corporation wasn’t logical as he was a continuous government servant whose competent authority was Department of Personnel and Training (DoPT).

The appeal noted that judgments in Antulay and Badal cases were in relation to intermittent government servants whose sanction falls under Section 19(1)(c), whose appointment, removal and holding of multiple posts are in contrast to a continuous government servant such as the petitioner.

“In so far as the continuous government servant of IAS is concerned, the only sanctioning authority would be DoPT... The competent authority in case of continuous government servant does not change unlike in the case of intermittent government servants," the appeal stated.

First Published: Jan 22, 2012 22:45 IST