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Bombay high court wants Maharashtra government to review policy for prosecuting public servants

Mumbai city news: The court was hearing a PIL filed by activist Ankur Patil, who said 339 cases of preliminary inquiries were being conducted by Mumbai and Thane ACB for a long period

mumbai Updated: Jul 10, 2017 20:23 IST
Kanchan Chaudhari
Kanchan Chaudhari
Hindustan Times
Mumbai city news,Bombay high court,Maharashtra government
The bench made the observation while referring to an open inquiry case going on for the past 15 years. (HT file)

The Bombay high court on Monday directed the state to review its policy for granting permissions to open inquiries and sanctions to prosecute public servants in corruption cases. The directive was issued after the court observed that most open inquiries went on for years and no sanctions were granted to prosecute corrupt officials even after completion of inquiries.

“Time has come that you take review of your entire policy,” said division bench of Justice RM Savant and Justice Sadhana Jadhav. “It can’t go on like this…open ended…this item no.1 is going on since 2002,” the bench said referring to an open inquiry case going on for the past 15 years.

“You must lay down some outer limit for granting permissions to open inquiries, for completing these inquiries, for grant of sanction to prosecute,” said the bench.

The court was hearing a public interest litigation (PIL) filed by activist Ankur Patil. He said 339 cases of preliminary inquiries were being conducted by Mumbai and Thane branches of the Maharashtra Anti-corruption Bureau (ACB) for a long period despite the Apex Court stating [November 2013] that such preliminary inquiries should be concluded within 15 days.The court had also stated that in exceptional cases, provided investigating authorities give adequate reasons, the inquiry period could last up to six weeks.

Patil said he obtained the information under the Right to Information (RTI) Act, 2005, which revealed that the Mumbai ACB is investigating 245 cases. Similarly, the Thane ACB is investigating 94 cases.

First Published: Jul 10, 2017 20:16 IST