The Supreme Court reiterated that a sanction in cases of corruption consisting of error, omission or irregularity shall not endanger the conviction unless it has led to a failure of justice.
The Division Bench comprising of Justices Indu Malhotra and Sanjiv Khanna upheld the conviction of the accused in the present case (Vinod Kumar Garg v. State) under Section 7 and 13 of the Prevention of Corruption Act, 1988 and observed the same.
The appellant contended that the investigation was not carried out by a police officer of rank and status of Deputy Superintendent and Police or equal. The bench addressing this contention stated that while such a lapse is an irregularity, it would not vitiate a conviction unless prejudicial; and that the conviction would not be considered bad in law.
The appellant further argued relying upon the apex court cases of Mohd. Iqbal Ahmed v. State of A.P., (1979) 4 SCC 172 and State of Karnataka v. Ameerjan, (2007) 11 SCC 273 to challenge the sanction order stating that a sanction can be given by the Sanctioning Authority only after being satisfied that there could be a case made out.
“3. […] what the Court has to see is whether or not the Sanctioning Authority at the time of giving sanction was aware of the facts constituting the offence and applied its mind for the same…”
The bench disregarding this contention that while there might be errors, omissions or irregularity, the appellant has not alleged that there was any prejudice caused due to such lapse.
“A mere error, omission or irregularity in sanction is not considered to be fatal unless it has resulted in a failure of justice or has been occasioned thereby. Section 19(1) of the Act is matter of procedure and does not go to the root of the jurisdiction and once the cognizance has been taken by the court under the Code, it cannot be said that an invalid police report is the foundation of jurisdiction of the court to take cognizance and for that matter the trial.”