SC Judgment on Section 6A of Delhi Police Establishment Act

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  • Supreme Court Judgment
    •  The SC judgment said that the section 6A of the DPE (Delhi Police Establishment Act) is invalid, as it goes against the Article 14. Furthermore, this judgment removed the need for prior sanction for filing compliant in the corruption cases.
    • Reasons for invalidating Sec 6A DPE:
      • Encourages inequality
      • Segregates people into different classes
      • Disparity in treating the same set of people, meaning all corrupt are birds of the same feather and need to be dealt with equally.
      • The expertise to decide whether to begin probing or not is not with the government, which is nothing but the CBI domain.
  •  According to the Sec 6A DPE, "the Delhi police shall not conduct any investigation or inquiry into the alleged offence committed under the Prevent of Corruption 1988 Act or 49 of 1988, unless they have prior approval of the Central Government related to those allegations."
  • History of Anticorruption Procedure
  • Until 1997, the Single Directive was followed, wherein the CBI has to take the approval of the Center before initiating an investigation or inquiry against any of the officers positioned at and above the Joint Secretary rank.
  • The Supreme Court invalidated this procedure in the Vineet Narain case, as it perpetuates inequality.
  • In the year 2003, the Government of India included the Sec 6A DPE based on the recommendation of Parliament committee headed by Sharad Pawar.
  • It was quite strange that this section was introduced in spite of no harassment case being reported between 1997 and 2003.
  • Outcome of Drawbacks in Single Directive
  •  In the Taj Corridor case, the Governor refused to approve investigation against Mayawati, and subsequently the case fell through.
  • In the Adarsh Housing Scam, the Governor again refused to give sanction against Ashok Chavan, and later this case too fell through.
  • Other Safeguards Available for Civil Servants
    •  According to the Section 197 Code of Criminal Procedure, sufficient protection is offered to any officer from the acts committed while performing his or her duties.
    •  According to the Section 19 Prevention of Corruption Act, prior approval of the Government is required to prosecute any of the officers after the investigation.
    •  The intellectuals opined that there was no need of Section 6A DPE to be introduced when the civil safeguards were already available.
    • They also believe that the Supreme Court judgment is the much awaited step taken in the right direction.
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