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Devinder Singh & Ors. Vs State of Punjab Through CBI, on 25th April 2016, Supreme Court of India: Case Brief – Read Judgment

Prior Sanction for Prosecution of the Public Authority: Court laid down several principles and said such question to be decided by the Trial Court

Criminal Appeal No. 190 of 2003
Bench: Justice V. Gopala Gowda; Justice Arun Mishra

Case Brief: Here, in this matter the bench at the outset clearly mentioned a question which is brought for its consideration is that whether in view of the section 6 of the Punjab Disturbed Areas Act, 1983 the prosecution or other legal proceedings relating to the Police Officer can be instituted without prior sanction of the Central Government. In the facts of the case, as there was a sudden spurt in the terrorist activities, massive killings at the hands of terrorists, looting, kidnappings, etc. were seen resulting in the death over 25,000 civilians, 1800 men in uniform and their relatives. men the four people were allegedly killed in a fake encounter. Moreover, this resulted in the migration of the civil population in the border districts of Amritsar, Ferozpur and Gurdaspur. As the location in which the present case is having its effect, is closely coming near Pakistan. Moreover, there were four people killed in encounter, which prosecution claiming a fake encounter. Accused persons here chargsheeted, and then they claimed their discharge on the ground that they had acted in the course of their duties and the sanction granted by the State Government was without jurisdiction. CBI claimed that there was no need of sanction as the deceased had been killed in fake encounter. The Special Court dismissed the claim of Accused persons. In a criminal revision before High Court, that court also held against the accused persons and decided that there was no need of sanction.

This bench after analysing the previous important judgements on the concerned issue and found some important principles, like protection of sanction is an assurance to an honest and sincere officer for performing his duty honestly and to the best of his ability to further public duty. Also, if any public servant has exceeded in his duty, if there is reasonable connection it will not deprive him of protection. The sanction has to be issued on the basis of sound objective assessment. Such question as to sanction should be dealt with at the stage of taking cognizance and it can be raised at the time of framing of charge. Such question can be arising at any stage of proceedings. As such, this bench provided few principles in this connection and for this case, the version of prosecution found as correct as there is no requirement of any sanction. However, the accused are free to adduce the evidence in defence and to submit such other materials on record indicating that the incident has taken place in discharge of their official duties. The Trial Court directed to re- examine the issue and as such the present appeals and writ petition were disposed of by this bench.

Read the Judgement: Devinder Singh & Ors. Vs State of Punjab Through CBI

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