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Requirement of ‘Prior Approval’ in Corruption Allegations Against Public Officials

By Amigos IAS

Why is it in the news?

  • The Supreme Court recently delivered a divided verdict on the plea by former Andhra Pradesh CM Chandrababu Naidu to dismiss an FIR related to an alleged skill development scam.
  • The case involves corruption charges against Naidu, and the matter has now been referred to the Chief Justice of India to constitute a three-judge bench for a conclusive ruling.

According to Supreme Court

  • Justice Bose emphasized the necessity of prior approval before investigating allegations against Naidu, which the CID lacked during the inquiry initiation.
  • Justice Trivedi deemed approval under Section 17A of the PCA Act necessary for offenses committed post-2018, the year of the provision’s introduction.

About ‘Prior Approval’ Requirement

  • In 2003, an amendment to the Delhi Special Police Establishment Act, 1946 (specifically Section 6A) was made which mandated central government approval for CBI to probe offenses under the Prevention of Corruption Act (PCA),1988, if the implicated official ranked higher than joint secretary.
  • Later, this requirement was eliminated by the Supreme Court in 2014.
  • In 2018, the PCA was amended, introducing a comparable provision (Section 17A), necessitating approval for investigating offenses committed during official duties.
Similar Cases Addressed by Supreme Court

·       In CBI v R R Kishore: A Constitution Bench ruled that officials cannot claim immunity under Section 6A, even if the offense occurred before the annulment of this provision.

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