Section 156 of CRPC raises the contention that if sanction for prosecution is not obtained against a public servant then, can magistrate order investigation against him U/S 156 of CRPC?

In a recent Supreme Court judgement, it was contended by the Learned senior counsel appearing for the appellants that the requirement of sanction is only procedural in nature and hence, directory or else Section 19(3) would be rendered indolent.

It was stated that Sub-section (3) of Section 19 has an object to achieve, which applies in circumstances where a Special Judge has already rendered a finding, sentence or order. In such an event, it shall not be reversed or altered by a court in appeal, confirmation or revision on the ground of absence of sanction.

This simply does not mean that the requirement to obtain sanction is not a mandatory requirement.

Once it is noticed that there was no previous sanction, the Magistrate cannot order investigation against a public servant. But however there is an exception (Section 156(3)) to the above statement which states that :

“Any Magistrate empowered under section 190 may order such an investigation as above- mentioned.”

Reference: Paras Nath Singh and Subramanium Swamy case (supra).


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