Prosecuting corrupt officials: court sets deadline for government

New Delhi : The Supreme Court Tuesday set the government a three-month deadline for sanctioning public servants under the Prevention of Corruption Act.

The apex court said this while allowing a petition by Janata Party president Subramanian Swamy saying Prime Minister Manmohan Singh was sitting on his application seeking sanction to prosecute former telecom minister A. Raja for his alleged involvement in the 2G scam.

An apex court bench of Justices G.S. Singhvi and A.K. Ganguly said the time period would be extended by another month if the government wanted to take the opinion of the attorney general.

Justice Singhvi said the government was bound by the apex court verdict in the Vineet Narain case holding that any application seeking sanction should be decided within three months.

In a separate observation, Justice Ganguly said if the government fails to decide on such an application, then it would be deemed as a sanction.

He also asked parliament to consider amending Section 19 of the Prevention of Corruption Act to provide for a timeframe for deciding applications seeking sanction for prosecution. He said the right to go to court is a constitutional right.

The court had reserved its order on Swamy’s application on Nov 24, 2010.

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