Delhi High Court today agreed to examine the challenge to the amended provision in Code of Criminal Procedure (CrPC) by which no prior sanction is required to prosecute a public servant who is accused in cases of alleged offences against women.
A bench of Chief Justice G Rohini and Justice Jayant Nath issued notice to Ministry of Home Affairs (MHA) seeking its reply to averments made in the petition which sought striking down of the explanation of Section 197 (sanction to prosecute public servant) of CrPC as “ultra vires, invalid and illegal”.
“We will consider. We issue notice (to Centre),” the bench said and listed the matter for August 24.
Anil Sharma, station house officer (SHO) at Chandani Mahal here, moved the High Court challenging the explanation added to Section 197 of the CrPC, vide the criminal law amendment Act 2013, whereby it was added that in case a public servant is accused of any alleged offences against women, no sanction shall be required.
“The explanation is liable to be quashed since it defeats the purpose and object of Section 197 CrPC and is in complete violation and against the scheme an spirit of CrPC 1973 and the Constitution of India,” senior advocate Siddharth Luthra, appearing for the petitioner SHO said.
The plea filed through advocate Rajiv Mohan further stated that the explanation is “harsh and unfair” for the police officers who are discharging their duty.
It said that the amendment has no justification or basis and will deter the police from fairly and freely investigating the commission of cognisable offence.
It will also hinder their (polices’s) investigation including the power to search and arrest, the plea added.
“Such a widely termed explanation obliterates and dilutes the object and purpose of sanction as contemplated under the Code as the same has been provided to give protection to the honest and upright public servants and to protect them from malicious prosecution.
“In absence of any safeguards the explanation is open to gross misuse… Exposing the investigating agency and it’s officers to prosecute,” the police officer said in his plea.
It said that the amendment hinders the ability of the police to act in public interest and for the protection of individuals/victims rights under Article 21.
“As the explanation stands, it would allow criminals and wrong doers to make false allegations against police officers, who are duty bound to arrest and conduct searches in accordance with the provisions of CrPC but will be hindered to do so,” the petition added.
( Source – PTI )