The Supreme Court of India clarified that no sanction is required to initiate criminal proceedings against public servants for offences allegedly committed under Indian Penal Code if they are not acting or purporting to act in discharge of their official duty.
In the instant case, certain public servants were charged under Sections 420, 468, 477A, 120B read with 109 of Indian Penal Code. The accused argued that criminal proceedings cannot be initiated against them as no sanction under Section 197 of Criminal Procedure Code was taken from the government.
Disposing of a bunch of similar petitions and referring to its case law on the subject matter, the Court said, “The question is not whether they were in service or on duty or not but whether the alleged offences have been committed by them “while acting or purporting to act in discharge of their official duty”.”
“The alleged indulgence of the officers in cheating, fabrication of records or misappropriation cannot be said to be in discharge of their official duty. Their official duty is not to fabricate records or permit evasion of payment of duty and cause loss to the Revenue”, the Court said.