In ChandrababuNaidu’s alleged skill development case, Section 17A of the Prevention of Corruption Act is being discussed widely. Even in the Supreme Court, Harish Salve & Mukul Rohatgi, who is fighting the case in favour of the Y.S. Jagan government
1) What is Section 17A of the new Prevention of Corruption?
– 17A. (1) No police officer shall conduct any enquiry or or investigation into any offence alleged. To have been committed by a public servant, where the alleged offence is relatable to any recommendation made or decision taken by such public servant “IN DISCHARGE OF HIS official functions or duties, without previous approval:
Sub-conditions are: (a) In the case of a person who is or was employed, at the time when the offence. Was alleged to have been committed, in connection with the affairs of the Union, of that Government; (b) In the case of a person who is or was employed, at the time when the offence was alleged to have been committed, in connection with the affairs of a State, of that Government; (c) In the case of any other person, of the authority competent to remove him from his office, at the time when the offence was alleged to have been committed
Only if: >> Provided that no such approval shall be necessary for cases involving arrest of a person on the spot ONLY ON the charge of ACCEPTING or ATTEMPTING TO ACCEPT any undue advantage for himself or for any other person:
>> Further that the concerned authority shall convey its decision under this section WITHIN A PERIOD OF 3 MONTHS, which may, for reasons to be recorded in writing by such authority, be extended by a further period of one month.
2. So, according to 17A, how does the case stand?
– Well, since Section 17A (Amended in 2018) has been grossly violated and is a DIRECT CONSTITUTIONAL BREACH.
3. Why or how is it a Breach?
4. Important points of Section 17A in short:
a) Stipulates MANDATORY requirement for a police officer to seek previous approval for conducting any enquiry or investigation in any alleged offence to have been committed by a public servant under the PC Act (of 2018).
b) Prohibits the Police from an inquiry of an investigation into any alleged. Offense arising from “recommendation made” by a public servant without previous approval.
5. What are the important questions from a common man about this case?
a) The evidence hasn’t been established yet, even 37 days after arrest. No money trail, no evidence of any funds transfer into any accounts.
c) Logically, this is a constitutional breach. So, how does the case even stand firmly?
d) What is the Governor doing, if prior permission had to be taken? Why is the Governor, who is a constitutional authority, not questioning the manner of the arrest & breach?