Judge has jurisdiction to try PC/non-PC offences even if public servant dies: SC

The Supreme Court of India clarified that a Special Judge (under Prevention of Corruption Act “PC Act”) has jurisdiction to proceed against non-Prevention of Corruption offences along with Prevention of Corruption offences irrespective of the fact that the sole public servant dies after charges have been framed in the case.

“….once the power has been exercised by the Special Judge under sub-section (3) of Section 4 of the PC Act to proceed against non-PC offences along with PC offences, the mere fact that the sole public servant dies after the exercise of powers under sub-section (3) of Section 4, will not divest the jurisdiction of the Special Judge or vitiate the proceedings pending before him”, the Court said.

The Court, however, clarified that situation would be different when the public servant dies before charges have been framed under PC Act and no Prevention of Corruption offence has been committed by any of the non-public servants.

“The trying of any case under the PC Act against a public servant or a non-public servant, as already indicated, is a sine-qua-non for exercising powers under sub-section (3) of Section 4 of PC Act. In the instant case, since no PC offence has been committed by any of the non-public servants and no charges have been framed against the public servant, while he was alive, the Special Judge had no occasion to try any case against any of them under the PC Act, since no charge has been framed prior to the death of the public servant”, the Court said.

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