Supreme Court reserves order on Swamy’s plea

Wednesday, November 24, 2010

NEW DELHI - The Supreme Court Wednesday reserved its order on Janata Party chief Subramanian Swamy’s petition seeking direction to Prime Minister Manmohan Singh to grant him sanction to prosecute then telecom minister A. Raja over the scandal involving spectrum allocation to mobile companies.

While reserving the verdict, the apex court bench of Justice G.S. Singhvi sand Justice A.K. Ganguly gave Attorney General Goolam Vahanvati a weeks time to file his supplementary arguments opposing Swamy’s plea.

The court also granted time to the attorney general to file an affidavit giving details of the applications pending with the government for sanction to prosecute public servants under the Prevention of Corruption Act (PCA).

Vahanvati maintained that complaints seeking sanctions under Prevention of Corruption Act must be moved first before the competent court.

It was only after such a court was satisfied that prima facie the complaint was fit for prosecution, that the sanctioning authority could be approached by a petitioner for the grant of sanction for prosecution, he said.

However, the court referred to several of its judgments and said that unless there was sanction, no competent court will take cognizance of a citizen’s corruption complaint against a public servant.

When Vahanvati told the court that what was sent by Swamy to the prime minister in 2008 was just a letter and not a complaint, the court said that the attorney general had not stated this position during his arguments Tuesday.

Vahanvati said his position was clear from the written submission he placed before the court Tuesday.

At this the court said there was no such thing in his written submission. However, the attorney general kept on pressing his argument that Swamy’s letter to the prime minister was not a complaint.

Swamy wrote to the prime minister Nov 29, 2008, seeking sanction for the prosecution of Raja under the PCA.

Though after the resignation Raja Nov 15, Swamy’s petition became irrelevant the apex court heard the matter on the question of law.

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