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‘Prior nod not needed for FIR, probe against civil servants’

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PRAYAGRAJ: The Allahabad high court has ruled that it is not mandatory to procure prior sanction for lodging of

FIR

and investigation against a civil servant. The court also observed that even if the sanction is required for starting legal proceedings, it should be obtained while submitting the chargesheet before a magistrate and when the magistrate takes cognizance of the matter.
HC gave the ruling while dismissing an anticipatory bail plea filed by one Ranjeet, who had allegedly obtained three passports under different names. Passing the order, Justice

Krishan Pahal

observed, “For institution of FIR and investigation thereupon, there is no obligatory requirement to secure prior sanction even against a public servant, as per mandate of code of criminal procedure. It shall equally apply to the persons charged under the Passport Act, 1967.”
The applicant had sought for an anticipatory bail in connection with an FIR against him for the alleged offences under Section 420 (cheating) and other sections of the

IPC

and under Section 12 of the Passport Act. The FIR was lodged at Barhalganj police station in Gorakhpur.
HC referred to the case of P Prathapachandran Vs CBI (2002) and noted that the relevant time for sanction to prosecute under the Passport Act is when the court is about to take cognizance of the offence. Therefore, the applicant’s objections to the validity of the sanction and the authority of the officer, who granted it, are unfounded.

Referring to

RS Nayak Vs AR Antulay

(1984) case, the bench reiterated that the valid sanction is necessary before taking cognizance of enumerated offences. It concluded that the argument against the availability of sanction during the FIR or investigation stage lacks merit. Therefore, no sanction is needed for the investigation in this case.
In addition to it, the court in its judgment dated Feb 13, 2024, also observed that the criteria for granting anticipatory bail under Section 438 of CrPC differs from those of other bails under Section 439 of CrPC. Anticipatory bail aims to protect individual rights, preventing the misuse of arrest powers and shielding the innocent individuals from harassment. However, it poses a challenge in balancing individual rights with the interests of justice, the court said.

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