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Lawyers welcome SC verdict on MPs and MLAs

Prior sanction is not necessary to prosecute MPs and MLAs facing corruption charges, says SC, reports Sutirtho Patranobis.

india Updated: Dec 07, 2006 02:25 IST

Senior lawyers said on Wednesday that the Supreme Court judgement that prior sanction was not necessary to prosecute public servants, MPs and MLAs facing corruption charges was correct and fast track justice could be one of its major spin-offs.

The lawyers added that Wednesday's verdict put a seal on a view that courts had been consistently taking but this case got highlighted because of the political angle.

"Courts had been taking the view that action should be defined in terms of official duty. Then only the question of protection, or the requirement of a sanction, rose. But bribery, as the SC has ruled, does not fall in the category of official duty." said RK Jain.

To KTS Tulsi, Wednesday's judgement actually applied a law that was already laid down. "In the famous Vineet Narayan case (also known as the Jain dairy case) the Supreme Court had struck down the single-point direction to the Central Bureau of Investigation not to register cases against officers of the level of joint secretaries and above without the prior permission of the Government. Today's verdict applied the same principle,'' Tulsi said, adding that politicians cannot now claim to be above the law.

Former law minister Shanti Bhushan gave an example. "If a train driver were involved in an accident, it would be while he was discharging his official duty. So, there's a need to protect him. But if a corruption case against a politician is good, this judgement will ensure that the politician will not be able to wield his influence and delay the sanction. The decision does not affect evidence or trial," Bhushan said.

Dr Abhisekh M Singhvi said that the decision vindicated the stand of the Punjab state that there was no statutory provision or legal obligation to seek sanction from the Speaker (in case of an MP) to prosecute. "The judgement has rightly held so. If there is no provision in the first place, the need does not arise," Singhvi said.

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First Published: Dec 07, 2006 02:25 IST