Amid the ongoing power tussle between the two constitutional functionaries of Delhi, Deputy Chief Minister Manish Sisodia has said the L-G’s nod to illegal action against those accused of crimes against the state is causing a legal crisis in the national capital.
The Deputy CM on Tuesday pulled up officials for authorising illegal prosecution sanctions against those accused of crimes against the state at the behest of Lieutenant Governor (L-G) of Delhi, VK Saxena. He said, “Delhi L-G’s bypassing of an elected government has caused a huge legal crisis,” explaining that the L-G’s move will give a free escape to the ones accused of corruption or other crimes in court.
He said, “A prosecution sanction (action against government officials for committing a crime during the discharge of his official duty) is required to be approved by the state minister in-charge of the department to put any official accused of crimes against the state under trial under the Code of Criminal Procedure (CrPc) Section 196 (prosecution for offences against the state and for criminal conspiracy to commit such offence).”
“Due legal process has been followed for decades but since the last few months, the Chief Secretary was sending prosecution sanction files directly to the L-G against provisions of criminal laws,” alleged the Dy CM. “As the L-G is illegally authorising the prosecution sanctions, those accused of crimes against the state will be freed of the charge on technical grounds in court,” Sisodia reiterated.
“The L-G’s over-enthusiasm to ignore the Constitution and the law of the land is helping criminals charged with serious offences to evade punishment,” Sisodia said. “I have asked the CS to state why the system was changed. I have also asked the CS to place a list of all such cases where invalid prosecution sanctions have been issued in the last six months,” said Sisodia.
WHAT DOES CrPC SAY
Under Section 196(1) CrPC, a valid sanction for prosecution from the state government is a prerequisite for certain offences. It includes offences such as hate speech, hurting religious sentiments, hate crimes, sedition, waging war against the state, and promoting enmity among others.
According to Supreme Court orders, it is the elected government that has to exercise executive powers to issue a valid sanction for prosecution Under Section 196(1) CrPC, and the L-G will be bound by the aid and advice of the Council of Ministers.
The L-G has no power to unilaterally grant sanctions independent of the aid and advice of the Council of Ministers. His act of doing so has rendered such prosecutions invalid due to the lack of a valid sanction as recognised by law.