STATE OF PUNJAB Vs. HARNEK SINGH
SUPREME COURT OF INDIA (FROM: PUNJAB & HARYANA)
STATE OF PUNJAB
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Sethi, J. -
(1.)In all these appeals, the FIRs and subsequent proceedings pending against the respondents under the provisions of Prevention of Corruption Act, 1988 (hereinafter referred to as "the 1988 Act") were quashed by the High Court in exercise of the powers vesting in it under Section 482 of the Code of Criminal Procedure. The accused-respondents had been apprehended while accepting the bribe by laying the trap under the 1988 Act. The High Court found that as the investigations had not been conducted by the authorised officers under the 1988 Act, the same were vitiated and deserved to be quashed.
(2.)The questions of law to be adjudicated upon in these appeals are :
(1) Whether the notifications issued by the State Government in exercise of the powers conferred upon it under Section 5A(1) of the Prevention of Corruption Act, 1947 (since repealed) empowering and authorising Inspector of Police to investigate the cases registered under the said Act are not saved under the saving provisions of the reenacted Prevention of Corruption Act, 1988.
(2) Whether the aforesaid notifications not being inconsistent with the provisions of the re-enacted Act continue to be in force and be deemed to have been issued under the Prevention of Corruption Act, 1988 till aforesaid notifications are superseded or specifically withdrawn."
(3.)Most of the facts in these appeals are not disputed. It is agreed that during the subsistence of the Prevention of Corruption Act, 1947 (hereinafter referred to as "the 1947 Act"), the Government of Punjab issued a notification on 9-7-1968 authorising Inspectors of Police, for the time being serving in the State Vigilance Department or who may be posted in future to serve with the said agency to investigate the offences under the 1947 Act within the State of Punjab so long as they remain posted in the said agency. In supersession of the notifications dated 9th July, 1968, the Government of Punjab issued another notification on 12-8-1968 under Section 5A(1) of the 1947 Act authorising such inspectors of police to investigate the offences under the Act even beyond the State of Punjab and the restrictions of investigation within the State of Punjab were removed. The 1947 Act was repealed on 9-9-1988 by re-enacting the 1988 Act being Act No. 49 of 1988. FIRs against the respondents were, concededly, registered after the coming into force the 1988 Act and the investigation conducted by the Inspectors of Police who had been authorised to investigate the offences by notifications issued under the repealed Act of 1947. The accused-respondents filed petitions under S. 482 of the Cr. P.C. (hereinafter referred to as "the Code") for quashing the FIRs registered and the proceedings pending against them on the ground that the inspectors who had investigated the cases were not the authorised officers in terms of Section 17 of 1988 Act.
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