Srinagar: Supreme Court has stayed a J&K High Court order regarding sanction for prosecution against officers and officials found indulging in corruption by the State Vigilance Organization.
“There shall be stay of the impugned order for a period of three months from (January 2),” said a division bench of Justices K.S. Radhakrishnan and A.K. Sikri.
The apex court was hearing a Special Leave Petition filed the Jammu and Kashmir government against exclusion of the provision of sanction for prosecution in Prevention to Corruption Act.
The J&K High Court had asked government to consider the suggestion that in case the competent authority does not record sanction for prosecution within a period of one month after receipt of report/record from the Vigilance Organization, it shall be deemed that sanction for prosecution has been granted.
It was actually one among the seven suggestions asked to be considered by the High Court in amending the PC Act to make it stringent.
The government preferred not to challenge six other suggestions which included awarding maximum of 20 years and minimum of 6 years in jail under section 5 (2) of the PC Act and making bail provisions stringent and parallel to Narcotic Drugs and Psychotropic Substance Act.
Subsequently, government formed a high-level panel headed by Chief Secretary which made its recommendations.
However, on December 31, 2013, J&K High Court rejected the recommendations as “eyewash and ineffective” and asked the state government to re-consider amendment in the PC Act to make it more stringent and effective.
While making the offences pertaining to corruption cases as non-bailable, the CS-led committee had proposed of awarding jail term from existing six months minimum and three-year maximum to one year minimum to five-year maximum for first time offenders and two years (minimum) to seven years (maximum) for habitual offenders.
“To us, the recommendations made by the Committee to the government for making amendments in the PC Act, appear to be eyewash. The state government shall have to reconsider the whole issue in the light of suggestions made by the court in order on July 4, 2012,” a division bench of Justices Virender Singh and Muzaffar Hussain Attar had observed while hearing a Public Interest Litigation.
The status report, court had observed, shows that the provisions of the Central Prevention of Corruption Act have been physically lifted and proposed to be made part of the J&K PC Act.
The menace of corruption can be effectively fought only when the laws, made to deal with it, are effective and deterrent in nature, the court had said.
The recommendations made by the Committee to the government, court had said, would be least effective in tackling the menace of corruption.