Private persons can now seek nod to prosecute IAS officials

IASaccountabilityNEW DELHI: In a positive note for making the IAS officers accountable and transparency, Modi government is set to bring new procedures. The draft guidelines empowers private persons to seek sanction for prosecution of IAS officers in corruption cases. The draft guideline outlined the procedure for handling such requests and set a three-month deadline for their disposal.

In this regard, DoPT has sought comments from all stakeholders, State Governments, Ministries/Departments and asked to submit their comments by August 12, 2016.

As per the proposed guidelines, a request for prosecution sanction may be routed through the state government or the central ministry/department where the civil servant is employed, allowing them to conduct a preliminary probe before it is taken up by the department of personnel and training for a decision.

The guidelines – shared on Thursday by DoPT with all states/UTs and central ministries/departments for their comments to be submitted by August 12 – are a first since the Supreme Court, in a 2012 ruling in Dr Subramanian Swamy Vs Manmohan Singh case, held that there is no provision in the PCA or CrPC that bars a citizen from filing a complaint for prosecution of a public servant alleged to have committed an offence.

The court said it deemed proper to observe that in future every competent authority shall take appropriate action on the representation made by a citizen for sanction of the prosecution of a public servant, so as to identify and obviate the areas causing delays in processing of such proposals.

Sharing that the SC verdict triggered a flow of such requests from private citizens, DoPT said many, however, were in nature in complaints rather than a proper proposal.

“Keeping in view the basic parameters and requirements for cases received from investigating agencies, it has been decided that the procedure for handling the requests for prosecution sanction received from private citizens may be streamlined,” the DoPT said adding that such proposals may now be routed through the concerned state government or central department/ministry “as it is best placed to provide basic inputs as regards misconduct of concerned public servant”. Even where the proposal is directly received by DoPT, the same may be sent first to the concerned state government or Central departments for preliminary examination.

If a prima facie case against the IAS officer is made out, the state government or Central department would have to prepare a detailed report and consider obtaining version of the said officer. Such report along with relevant records and evidence should then be forwarded to DoPT with approval of the competent authority. Where no prima facie case is warranted for misconduct or corruption, the private citizen may be so informed and a copy shared with DoPT, say the proposed guidelines. On receipt of a report and evidence backing a prima facie case, action may be initiated for processing the matter for decision of the competent authority.

Importantly, the DoPT guidelines set a three-month time limit for disposing of prosecution sanction requests from private persons, starting from the date of receipt of complete proposal with all relevant material and aforesaid report from the concerned state government of central department or ministry.