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Sec 19, Prevention of Corruption Act 1988: Previous Sanction Necessary for Prosecution

Section 19 (Previous sanction necessary for prosecution) under Chapter V (Sanction for Prosecution and Other Miscellaneous Provisions) of the Prevention of Corruption Act 1988

❝(1) No court shall take cognizance of an offence punishable under sections 7, 11, 13 and 15 alleged to have been committed by a public servant, except with the previous sanction save as otherwise provided in the Lokpal and Lokayuktas Act, 2013 (1 of 2014)—

 (a) in the case of a person who is employed, or as the case may be, was at the time of commission of the alleged offence employed in connection with the affairs of the Union and is not removable from his office save by or with the sanction of the Central Government, of that Government;

 (b) in the case of a person who is employed, or as the case may be, was at the time of commission of the alleged offence employed in connection with the affairs of a State and is not removable from his office save by or with the sanction of the State Government, of that Government;

 (c) in the case of any other person, of the authority competent to remove him from his office:

 Provided that no request can be made, by a person other than a police officer or an officer of an investigation agency or other law enforcement authority, to the appropriate Government or competent authority, as the case may be, for the previous sanction of such Government or authority for taking cognizance by the court of any of the offences specified in this sub-section, unless—

 (i) such person has filed a complaint in a competent court about the alleged offences for which the public servant is sought to be prosecuted; and
 (ii) the court has not dismissed the complaint under section 203 of the Code of Criminal Procedure, 1973 (2 of 1974) and directed the complainant to obtain the sanction for prosecution against the public servant for further proceeding:

 Provided further that in the case of request from the person other than a police officer or an officer of an investigation agency or other law enforcement authority, the appropriate Government or competent authority shall not accord sanction to prosecute a public servant without providing an opportunity of being heard to the concerned public servant:

 Provided also that the appropriate Government or any competent authority shall, after the receipt of the proposal requiring sanction for prosecution of a public servant under this sub-section, endeavour to convey the decision on such proposal within a period of three months from the date of its receipt:

 Provided also that in case where, for the purpose of grant of sanction for prosecution, legal consultation is required, such period may, for the reasons to be recorded in writing, be extended by a further period of one month:

 Provided also that the Central Government may, for the purpose of sanction for prosecution of a public servant, prescribe such guidelines as it considers necessary.

Explanation.—For the purposes of sub-section (1), the expression “public servant” includes such person—
 (a) who has ceased to hold the office during which the offence is alleged to have been committed; or
 (b) who has ceased to hold the office during which the offence is alleged to have been committed and is holding an office other than the office during which the offence is alleged to have been committed.

(2) Where for any reason whatsoever any doubt arises as to whether the previous sanction as required under sub-section (1) should be given by the Central Government or the State Government or any other authority, such sanction shall be given by that Government or authority which would have been competent to remove the public servant from his office at the time when the offence was alleged to have been committed.

(3) Notwithstanding anything contained in the Code of Criminal Procedure, 1973 (2 of 1974),—
 (a) no finding, sentence or order passed by a special Judge shall be reversed or altered by a Court in appeal, confirmation or revision on the ground of the absence of, or any error, omission or irregularity in, the sanction required under sub-section (1), unless in the opinion of that court, a failure of justice has in fact been occasioned thereby;
 (b) no court shall stay the proceedings under this Act on the ground of any error, omission or irregularity in the sanction granted by the authority, unless it is satisfied that such error, omission or irregularity has resulted in a failure of justice;
 (c) no court shall stay the proceedings under this Act on any other ground and no court shall exercise the powers of revision in relation to any interlocutory order passed in any inquiry, trial, appeal or other proceedings.

(4) In determining under sub-section (3) whether the absence of, or any error, omission or irregularity in, such sanction has occasioned or resulted in a failure of justice the court shall have regard to the fact whether the objection could and should have been raised at any earlier stage in the proceedings.

 Explanation.—For the purposes of this section,—
 (a) error includes competency of the authority to grant sanction;
 (b) a sanction required for prosecution includes reference to any requirement that the prosecution shall be at the instance of a specified authority or with the sanction of a specified person or any requirement of a similar nature.❞



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Notes:

The Prevention of Corruption Act, 1988 was amended by the:
 - the Lokpal and Lokayuktas Act, 2013 (Act No. 01 of 2014);
 - the Prevention of Corruption (Amendment) Act, 2018 (Act No. 16 of 2018).

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