Corrupt public servants with godfathers in the ruling class are accustomed to the escape hatch of the government, stalling sanction for their prosecution. But here’s something for them to worry about. The Supreme Court has ruled that there’s no need for any sanction to prosecute those accused of abetting corruption. The judgment was delivered by the Supreme Court judges while deciding an interesting question-while sanction for prosecution of an official was mandatorily required for offences under Sections 7, 10, 11, 13 and 15 of the Prevention of Corruption Act, would it also be needed afresh if he abets any of crimes mentioned in these sections? Parmeshwaran Subramani, a public servant, was accused of purchasing flats for customs officials at an exorbitant price. After government sanction, the CBI had initiated prosecution. During the pendency of the probe, Subramani allegedly tried to bribe the investigating officer to close the case and so abetted another crime relating to corruption. The CBI booked him for the second offence too. But the case was quashed by the Goa bench of the Bombay HC on the grounds that there was no prior sanction for prosecution. The CBI appealed in the Supreme Court. The SC termed the HC’s interpretation “wholly erroneous”. It said when Section 19 of the anti-corruption law specifically omits Section 12 (abetment of corruption) from the purview of the sanction clause, the HC could not have ruled that it was required.

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