need of sanction under Section 197 of the Code is not necessarily to be considered as soon as the complaint is lodged = Therefore, the lack of sanction was rightly found not to be a ground for quashing of the proceedings.

REPORTABLE
IN THE SUPREME COURT OF INDIA
CRIMINAL APPELLATE JURISDICTION
CRIMINAL APPEAL NO. 1662 OF 2019
(ARISING OUT OF SLP (CRIMINAL) NO. 3632 OF 2019)
THE STATE OF TELANGANA …..APPELLANT(S)
VERSUS
SRI MANAGIPET @ MANGIPET SARVESHWAR
REDDY …..RESPONDENT(S)
W I T H
CRIMINAL APPEAL NO. 1663 OF 2019
(ARISING OUT OF SLP (CRIMINAL) NO. 4074 OF 2019)
J U D G M E N T
HEMANT GUPTA, J.

  1. The order dated 24th December, 2018 passed by the High Court of
    Judicature at Hyderabad is the subject matter of challenge in the
    present appeals, one by the State and the other by the Accused
    Officer.
  2. The High Court partly allowed the petition filed by the Accused
    Officer under Section 482 of the Code of Criminal Procedure, 19731
    qua the proceedings arising out of Crime No. 28/ACB-CIU-HYD/2011
    1 for short, ‘Code’
    1
    dated 9th November, 2011.
  3. Such FIR was registered on the basis of the statement given by Ch.
    Sudhakar, Deputy Superintendent of Police2
    at about 10 am. The
    FIR reads as under:
    “On receipt of credible information that Sri. Managipet @
    Mangipet Sarveshwar Reddy S/o. Late Narsimha Reddy,
    Age 51 years, Occ: OSD, Rang Reddy District, Vikarabad
    R/o Flat No. 401, Venkatadri Apartments, Behind HPCL
    Petrol Pump, Gachibowli, Hyderabad is a native of
    Chilkatonipally (V) Veltoor (Post), Wanaparthy Tq.,
    Mahaboobnagar District. The S.O. joined Govt. service
    on 19-09-1985 as Sub Inspector of Police and promoted
    as Inspector of Police on 04-04-1995 and Dy. Supdt. of
    Police, in the year 2007. He worked as SI at
    Rayadurgam, Hayathnagar, Malkajigiri, as Circle
    Inspector at Huzurnagar of Nalgonda District Narsingi,
    Uppal, Rajendranagar of Cyberabad Commissionerate,
    R.R. District as ACP., Rajendranagar for about 4 years and
    presently working as OSD, Ranga Reddy District,
    Vikarabad.
    During the period of his service he acquired Six
    Multistoried Buildings, One Multistoried commercial
    complex, 27 plots and 26 Acres of land at Hyderabad,
    Ranga Reddy and Mahboobnagar Districts and one
    Scorpio car, one Hyundai Verna car and Maruti Car, all
    worth Rs.3,55,61,500/-.
    The probable income of the A.O. and his family members
    from all their known sources of income when calculated
    roughly would be Rs.60,00,000/-. The probable
    expenditure of the accused officer including household
    expenditure and expenditure on children education is
    tentatively estimated at Rs.23,00,000/-.
    The likely savings of the accused officer is Rs.37,00,000/-
    i.e., the probable income of Rs. 60,00,000 – minus the
    probable expenditure of Rs.23,00,000/-.
    As against the likely savings of Rs.37,00,000/- the
    Accused Officer has acquired assets approximately worth
    Rs.3,55,61,500/-. Thus, the A.O. is in possession of
    assets worth Rs.3,18,61,500/- which are disproportionate
    2 for short, ‘DSP’
    2
    to the known sources of his income for which he cannot
    satisfactorily account for and thereby committed the
    offence punishable U/s 13(2) r/w 13(1)(e) of P.C. Act
    1988.
    Permission has been obtained from the competent
    authority to register a case against the above official U/s
    13(2) r/w 13(1)(e) of the Prevention of Corruption Act,
    1988.
    Hence, the FIR.”
  4. A charge sheet was filed on 9th October, 2017 on completion of the
    investigations. As per the Report, the Accused Officer was said to
    be in possession of assets worth Rs.3,18,61,500/- alleged to be
    disproportionate to his known sources of income. The total worth
    of the property against his savings of Rs.37 lakhs was found to be
    approximately Rs.3,55,61,500/-. During the investigations, as
    many as 114 witnesses were examined. Ch. Sudhakar, DSP, CIU,
    ACB, Hyderabad and five more investigating officers conducted the
    investigations and prepared the final report.
  5. The High Court in a petition for quashing of the charge sheet, held
    that there was no authorization to register the crime and that the
    informant cannot be the investigating officer and, thus, quashed
    the same. The State is aggrieved against the said two findings
    whereas, the Accused Officer has challenged the findings of the
    High Court not accepting the grounds pressed by him in seeking
    the quashing of the charge sheet – that there is no preliminary
    inquiry before the registration of the crime; that there is no
    sanction and that there is a delay in the completion of the
    3
    investigation which has prejudiced the rights of the Accused
    Officer.
  6. Ms. Bina Madhavan, learned counsel for the State submitted that
    the Accused Officer joined as Sub Inspector on 19th September,
    1985 and was promoted as Inspector on 4th April, 1997. He was
    further promoted as DSP in the year 2007. In pursuance of the FIR
    filed, a draft final report was prepared on 30th April, 2015 but the
    same was submitted on 9th October, 2017 after the Accused Officer
    retired on 31st May, 2017. Section 17 of the Prevention of
    Corruption Act, 19883
    pertains to investigation into cases under the
    Act. A Police officer not below the rank of Inspector, authorized by
    the State Government by general or special order, may also
    investigate any such offence. An offence under clause (e) of subsection (1) of Section 13 of the Act cannot be investigated without
    an order of the Police Officer not below the rank of Superintendent
    of Police. Section 17 of the Act reads as under:
    “17. Persons authorised to investigate.—
    Notwithstanding anything contained in the Code of
    Criminal Procedure, 1973 (2 of 1974), no police officer
    below the rank,—
    a) xx xx xx
    b) xx xx xx
    c) elsewhere, of a Deputy Superintendent of Police or a
    police officer of equivalent rank, shall investigate any
    offence punishable under this Act without the order of a
    Metropolitan Magistrate or a Magistrate of the first class,
    as the case may be, or make any arrest therefor without
    a warrant:
    3 for short, ‘Act’
    4
    Provided that if a police officer not below the rank of
    an Inspector of Police is authorised by the State
    Government in this behalf by general or special order, he
    may also investigate any such offence without the order
    of a Metropolitan Magistrate or a Magistrate of the first
    class, as the case may be, or make arrest therefor
    without a warrant:
    Provided further that an offence referred to in clause
    (e) of sub-section (1) of section 13 shall not be
    investigated without the order of a police officer not
    below the rank of a Superintendent of Police.”
  7. Learned counsel for the State referred to Government Order No.
    3168 dated 24th May, 2008 re-employing Sri K. Sampath Kumar,
    Joint Director, Anti-Corruption Bureau as Officer on Special Duty
    after his superannuation on 31st May, 2008 for a period of one year.
    Such order of re-employment was renewed on 5th March, 2009; 13th
    May, 2010 and on 30th May, 2011, each extending the term of reemployment by one year. It was on 9th November, 2011, the Joint
    Director, CIU & SES, Anti-Corruption Bureau authorized Ch.
    Sudhakar, DSP to register a case against the Accused Officer under
    Section 13(2) read with Section 13(1)(e) of the Act and inspect any
    premises, bankers books of the Accused Officer or of any other
    person concerned with the affairs of the Accused Officer and take
    or cause to be taken certified copies of the relevant entries
    therefrom for the purpose of investigation. It is in pursuance of
    such authorization that the FIR was lodged, premises were
    searched and the Accused Officer was arrested.
  8. The High Court relied upon the judgment reported as Union Public
    5
    Service Commissioner v. Girish Jayanti Lal Vaghela & Ors.
    4
    to
    hold that the statutory rules do not permit to extend the age of
    superannuation without compliance of Article 16 of the Constitution
    of India. A person who was appointed for a short period of six
    months or till availability of a regular selectee, whichever is earlier
    is practically appointed on a contract basis and could not be called
    a government servant. The High Court returned the following
    findings:
    “21. It is neither pleaded nor is there any material to
    show that the appointment of Respondent 1 had been
    made after issuing public advertisement or the body
    authorised under the relevant rules governing the
    conditions of service of Drugs Inspectors in the Union
    Territory of Daman and Diu had selected him. His
    contractual appointment for six months was dehors the
    rules. The appointment was not made in a manner which
    could even remotely be said to be compliant with Article
    16 of the Constitution. The appointment being purely
    contractual, the stage of acquiring the status of a
    government servant had not arrived. While working as a
    contractual employee Respondent 1 was not governed by
    the relevant service rules applicable to Drugs Inspector.
    He did not enjoy the privilege of availing casual or
    earned leave. He was not entitled to avail the benefit of
    general provident fund nor was he entitled to any
    pension which are normal incidents of a government
    service. Similarly, he could neither be placed under
    suspension entitling him to a suspension allowance nor
    could he be transferred. Some of the minor penalties
    which can be inflicted on a government servant while he
    continues to be in government service could not be
    imposed upon him nor was he entitled to any protection
    under Article 311 of the Constitution. In view of these
    features it is not possible to hold that Respondent 1 was
    a government servant.”
  9. We find glaring illegality in the line of reasoning and the findings
    4 (2006) 2 SCC 482
    6
    recorded by the High Court. Girish Jayanti Lal Vaghela was a
    case where Shri Vaghela was appointed on a short term contract
    basis, on a fixed salary till a candidate was selected by the Union
    Public Service Commission on a regular basis. The advertisement
    to fill up the post on regular basis contemplated relaxation of five
    years in age for government servants. He claimed relaxation in
    age being a government servant for appointment on regular basis.
    It was held that it was a contract which governed his terms of
    service and not the rules framed under the proviso to Article 309 of
    the Constitution of India in as much as he was not appointed in
    accordance with the Rules and, thus, was not eligible for any
    relaxation in upper age for appointment on a regular basis in a post
    advertised by Union Public Service Commission.
  10. Article 310 of the Constitution contemplates that except as
    expressly provided, every person who is a member of a defence
    service or of a civil service of the Union or of an all-India service or
    holds any post connected with defence or any civil post under the
    Union, holds office at the pleasure of the President. In respect of
    the State Services, however, he or she holds office at the pleasure
    of the Governor. In the present case, Sri K. Sampath Kumar was reemployed for a period of one year by the State Government in
    exercise of powers conferred under Article 162 of the Constitution
    of India. There is no prohibition in any of the service rules that
    there cannot be any re-employment of a person who was once in a
    civil service of either the Center or the State.
    7
  11. Entry 2 of List II of the State List is the Police (including railway and
    village police) subject to the provisions of Entry 2A of List I.
    Therefore, various facets of Policing in the State fall within the
    legislative competence of the State and the re-employment of a
    retired personnel who was a member of Indian Police Service, falls
    within the executive power of the State. As a re-employed officer,
    he was holding a civil post as his salary was being paid from the
    State Exchequer. He was discharging duties and responsibilities in
    the Anti-Corruption Bureau.
  12. In P.H. Paul Manoj Pandian v. P. Veldurai
    5
    , it has been held that
    the executive power of the State is coterminous with the legislative
    power of the State Legislature i.e. if the State Legislature has
    jurisdiction to make law with respect to a subject, the State
    executive can make regulations and issue government orders with
    respect to it. This Court held as under:
    “48. The powers of the executive are not limited merely
    to the carrying out of the laws. In a welfare State the
    functions of the executive are ever widening, which cover
    within their ambit various aspects of social and economic
    activities. Therefore, the executive exercises power to fill
    gaps by issuing various departmental orders. The
    executive power of the State is coterminous with the
    legislative power of the State Legislature. In other words,
    if the State Legislature has jurisdiction to make law with
    respect to a subject, the State executive can make
    regulations and issue government orders with respect to
    it, subject, however, to the constitutional limitations.
    Such administrative rules and/or orders shall be
    inoperative if the legislature has enacted a law with
    respect to the subject. Thus, the High Court was not
    justified in brushing aside the Government Order dated
    5 (2011) 5 SCC 214
    8
    16-11-1951 on the ground that it contained
    administrative instructions.”
  13. In Bishambhar Dayal Chandra Mohan & Ors. v. State of Uttar
    Pradesh & Ors.
    6
    , it was held that the executive power of the State
    Government cannot be circumscribed if it does not go against the
    provisions of the Constitution or any law. The Court held as under:
    “20. …………….. In Ram Jawaya Kapur v. State of
    Punjab [AIR 1955 SC 549 : (1955) 2 SCR 225 : 1955 SCJ
    504] Mukherjea, C.J., dealt with the scope of Articles 73
    and 162 of the Constitution. The learned Chief Justice
    observed that neither of the two Articles contains any
    definition as to what the executive function is or gives an
    exhaustive enumeration of the activities which would
    legitimately come within its scope. It was observed:
    “Ordinarily the executive power connotes the residue of
    governmental functions that remain after legislative and
    judicial functions are taken away.” It is neither necessary
    nor possible to give an exhaustive enumeration of the
    kinds and categories of executive functions which may
    comprise both the formulation of the policy as well as its
    execution. In other words, the State in exercise of its
    executive power is charged with the duty and the
    responsibility of carrying on the general administration of
    the State. So long as the State Government does not go
    against the provisions of the Constitution or any law, the
    width and amplitude of its executive power cannot be
    circumscribed. If there is no enactment covering a
    particular aspect, certainly the Government can carry on
    the administration by issuing administrative directions or
    instructions, until the legislature makes a law in that
    behalf. Otherwise, the administration would come to a
    standstill.”
  14. Sri K. Sampath Kumar was re-employed initially for a period of one
    year after his retirement. He was not being recruited for holding a
    civil post for the first time which may warrant compliance of rigour
    of Article 16 of the Constitution. He had crossed all bridges, when
    6 (1982) 1 SCC 39
    9
    he was appointed and discharged duties before attaining the age of
    superannuation. Such re-employment by the State is in exercise of
    the powers conferred under Article 162 of the Constitution of India.
    Such executive powers of the State do not contravene any other
    statutory provisions; therefore, re-employment in this regard is
    supplementing the statutory rules and regulations and not
    supplanting them. Therefore, Sri K. Sampath Kumar has
    discharged the duties of Joint Director in the Anti-Corruption Bureau
    in exercise of the powers conferred by the State Government.
  15. We further find that Sri K. Sampath Kumar’s acts whilst discharging
    the duties of Joint Director in the Anti-Corruption Bureau were
    within the scope of the assumed official authority in public interest
    and not for his own benefit. Therefore, acts undertaken in this
    regard by the officer will be taken to be valid. This Court in a
    judgment reported as Gokaraju Rangaraju v. State of Andhra
    Pradesh
    7
    held as under:
    “17. A judge, de facto, therefore, is one who is not a
    mere intruder or usurper but one who holds office,
    under colour of lawful authority, though his
    appointment is defective and may later be found to be
    defective. Whatever be the defect of his title to the
    office, judgments pronounced by him and acts done by
    him when he was clothed with the powers and functions
    of the office, albeit unlawfully, have the same efficacy
    as judgments pronounced and acts done by a judge de
    jure. Such is the de facto doctrine, born of necessity
    and public policy to prevent needless confusion and
    endless mischief…
  16. In our view, the de facto doctrine furnishes an
    answer to the submissions of Shri Phadke based on
    7 (1981) 3 SCC 132
    10
    Section 9 of the Criminal Procedure Code and Article 21
    of the Constitution. The judges who rejected the appeal
    in one case and convicted the accused in the other case
    were not mere usurpers or intruders but were persons
    who discharged the functions and duties of judges
    under colour of lawful authority. We are concerned with
    the office that the Judges purported to hold. We are not
    concerned with the particular incumbents of the office.
    So long as the office was validly created, it matters not
    that the incumbent was not validly appointed. A person
    appointed as a Sessions Judge, Additional Sessions
    Judge or Assistant Sessions Judge, would be exercising
    jurisdiction in the Court of Session and his judgments
    and orders would be those of the Court of Session. They
    would continue to be valid as the judgments and orders
    of the Court of Session, notwithstanding that his
    appointment to such Court might be declared invalid.
    On that account alone, it can never be said that the
    procedure prescribed by law has not been followed. It
    would be a different matter if the constitution of the
    court itself is under challenge. We are not concerned
    with such a situation in the instant cases. We, therefore,
    find no force in any of the submissions of the learned
    Counsel.”
  17. The aforesaid judgment relies upon Pulin Behari Das v. King
    Emperor
    8
    , wherein Justice Mookerjee held the following:-
    “The doctrine that the acts of officers de
    facto performed by them within the scope of their
    assumed ??? authority in the interest of the public or
    third persons and not for their own benefit, are
    generally as valid and binding as if they were the acts
    of officers de jure, dates as far back as the Year-Books,
    and it stands confirmed, without any qualification or
    exception, by a long line of adjudications. Viner says
    “acts done by an officer de facto and not de jure are
    good, for the law favours one in a refuted authority”
    (Abridgment, Tit. Officers and Officers G. 4). In fact the
    question for determination in cases involving the
    application of the de facto doctrine, is not, as a rule,
    whether the challenged acts, assuming the officer to
    be de facto, as such are valid, but whether the person
    whose title is questioned is or was really a de
    facto officer.
    8 1911 SCC OnLine Cal 159 : (1911-12) 16 CWN 1105
    11
    xx xx xx
    It is not necessary for our present purposes to
    investigate exhaustively all the qualifications or
    limitations subject to which the de facto doctrine has to
    be applied. The substance of the matter is that the de
    facto doctrine was introduced into the law as a matter
    of policy and necessity, to protect the interest of the
    public and the individual where those interests were
    involved in the official acts of persons exercising the
    duties of an office without being lawful Officers. The
    doctrine in fact is necessary to maintain the supremacy
    of the law and to preserve peace and order in the
    community at large. Indeed, if any individual or body of
    individuals were permitted at his or their pleasure to
    collaterally challenge the authority of and to refuse
    obedience to the Government of the State and the
    numerous functionaries through whom it exercised its
    various powers, on the ground of irregular existence or
    defective title, insubordination and disorder of the worst
    kind would be encouraged. For the good order and
    peace of society their authority must be upheld until in
    some regular mode their title is directly investigated
    and determined, [See the observations
    in Scadding v. Lorant [???] and Norton v. Shelby
    County [118 U.S. 425 (1886).] In the matter now before
    us, the sanction under sec. 196 of the Criminal
    Procedure Code was granted by the de facto Local
    Government and the cognizance of the case has been
    taken by the de facto Sessions Judge. In my opinion, it
    is not open to the Appellants to question collaterally the
    legality of the conviction upon the allegation that the
    Local Government was irregularly constituted and the
    Sessions Judge irregularly appointed. The first ground
    upon which the legality of the trial is assailed must
    consequently be overruled.”
  18. The de facto doctrine as encapsulated above has been reiterated
    by this Court, even in the context of an executive appointment, in
    the judgment reported as Pushpadevi M. Jatia v. M. L.
    Wadhawan, Additional Secretary, Government of India and
    Ors.
    9
    . In this case, the Additional Secretary to the Government of
    9 (1987) 3 SCC 367
    12
    India had detained Mohanlal Jatia vide a Government order under
    sub-section (1) of Section 3 of the Conservation of Foreign
    Exchange and Prevention of Smuggling Activities Act, 1974, on
    being satisfied that it was necessary to detain him. Herein, the
    Additional Secretary relied on statements recorded by one R.C.
    Singh whom the appellant contended was not a “gazetted officer”
    of enforcement under FERA, and therefore statements recorded by
    the officer could not be relied upon to detain him. It was discussed:
    “17. In any event, the learned Counsel further contends
    that R.C. Singh was clothed with the insignia of office and
    he was purporting to exercise the functions and duties of
    a gazetted officer of Enforcement under Section 40(1) of
    the FERA and therefore the de facto doctrine was
    attracted. He relies upon the decision of this Court
    in Gokaraju Rangaraju v. State of Andhra Pradesh [(1981)
    3 SCC 132: 1981 SCC (Cri) 652: (1981) 3 SCR 474]
    enunciating the de facto doctrine, born of necessity and
    public policy to prevent needless confusion and endless
    mischief. In other words, he contends that where an
    officer acts under the law, it matters not how the
    appointment of the incumbent is made so far as the
    validity of his acts are concerned.
  19. We are inclined to the view that in this jurisdiction
    there is a presumption of regularity in the acts of officials
    and that the evidential burden is upon him who asserts
    to the contrary. The contention that R.C. Singh was not a
    gazetted officer of Enforcement within the meaning of
    Section 40(1) of the FERA appears to be wholly
    misconceived besides being an afterthought. The validity
    of appointment of R.C. Singh to be an officer of
    Enforcement under this Act cannot be questioned…….
  20. … Where an office exists under the law, it matters
    not how the appointment of the incumbent is made, so
    far as validity of his acts are concerned. It is enough that
    he is clothed with the insignia of the office, and exercises
    its powers and functions. The official acts of such persons
    are recognised as valid under the de facto doctrine, born
    of necessity and public policy to prevent needless
    confusion and endless mischief. In Gokaraju Rangaraju
    13
    case [(1981) 3 SCC 132 : 1981 SCC (Cri) 652 : (1981) 3
    SCR 474] Chinnappa Reddy, J., explained that this
    doctrine was engrafted as a matter of policy and
    necessity to protect the interest of the public.”
  21. Further, a Full Bench of Kerala High Court in a judgment reported as
    P.S. Menon v. State of Kerala
    10 held that the de facto doctrine
    was engrafted as a matter of policy and necessity to protect the
    interest of the public as well as the individuals involved in the
    official capacity of persons exercising the duty of an officer without
    actually being one in strict point of law. These officers may not be
    the officers de jure but by virtue of particular circumstances, their
    acts should be considered valid as a matter of public policy.
  22. In another Division Bench judgment reported as P. Mahamani v.
    Tamil Nadu Magnesite, Ltd., Salem & Ors.
    11
    , the Madras High
    Court held as under:
    “12. An officer de facto is one who by some colour or
    right is in possession of an office and for the time being
    performs his duties with public acquiescence, though
    having no right in fact. Whereas an intruder is one who
    attempts to perform the duties of an office without
    authority of law, and without the support of public
    acquiescence. No one is under obligation to recognise
    or respect the acts of an intruder, and for all legal
    purposes they are absolutely void. But for the sake of
    order and regularity, and to prevent confusion in the
    conduct of public business and in security of private
    rights, the acts of officers de-facto arc not suffered to
    be questioned because of the want of legal authority
    except by some direct proceeding instituted for the
    purpose. In all other cases the acts of an officer de
    facto are as valid and effectual, while he is suffered to
    retain the office as though he were an officer by right,
    and the same legal consequences will flow from them
    10 AIR 1970 Ker 165
    11 (1993) 2 LLN 353
    14
    for the protection of the public and of third parties.
    There is an important principle, which finds concise
    expression in the legal maxim that the acts of
    officers de facto cannot be questioned collaterally. A
    person may be entitled to his designation although he is
    not a true and rightful incumbent of the office, yet he is
    no more usurper but holds it under colour of lawful
    authority. The de facto doctrine was introduced into the
    law as a matter of policy and necessity, to protect the
    interest of the public and the individual where these
    interests were involved in the official act of persons
    exercising the duties of an office without being lawful
    officers. The doctrine in fact is necessary to maintain
    the supremacy of the law and lo preserve peace and
    order in the community at large. Indeed, if any
    individual or body of individuals were permitted, at his
    or their pleasure, lo collaterally challenge the authority
    of and lo refuse obedience lo the Government of the
    State and the numerous functionaries through whom it
    exercised its various powers on the ground of irregular
    existence of defective title insubordination and disorder
    of the worst kind would be encouraged. For the good
    order and peace of society, their authority must be up
    held until in some regular mode their title is directly
    investigated and determined. When one holds office
    under colour of lawful authority, whatever be the defect
    of his title lo the office, acts done by him when he was
    clothed with the powers and functions of the office,
    albeit unlawfully, have the same efficacy and acts done
    by an officer de jure. The defective appointment of a de
    facto officer may be questioned directly in a proceeding
    lo which he may be a party but it cannot be permitted
    to be questioned in a litigation between two private
    litigants, a litigation which is of no concern or
    consequence lo the officer concerned. So the writ
    petitioner cannot be heard to say that Sri Madhavan
    Nair, the second respondent had no authority to preside
    over the meeting of the Board of Directors wherein it
    was resolved lo place him under suspension and initiate
    disciplinary action.”
  23. The de facto doctrine was reiterated yet again in a recent Supreme
    Court judgment reported as Veerendra Kumar Gautam & Ors. v.
    Karuna Nidhan Upadhyay & Ors.
    12
    .
    12 (2016) 14 SCC 18
    15
  24. Therefore, we find that Sri K. Sampath Kumar was discharging the
    duties of Joint Director in Anti-Corruption Bureau under the
    authority conferred by the State. The authorisation in favour of Ch.
    Sudhakar was issued when he was performing his duties in public
    interest and not for his own benefit. Therefore, such authorisation
    is valid and binding as if it was an act of an officer de jure.
  25. We further find that the High Court, while deciding a petition for
    quashing of proceedings under Section 482 of the Code, could not
    have commented upon the nature of employment of Sri K. Sampath
    Kumar, as such a question does not fall within the jurisdiction of the
    High Court whilst deciding the aforementioned petition.
  26. Sri K. Sampath Kumar has authorised Ch. Sudhakar and the final
    report had been filed after the investigation conducted by the
    latter, in terms of clause (c) of Section 17 of the Act. In this regard,
    it cannot be said that the investigation was not conducted in a
    manner contemplated under law. Thus, Ch. Sudhakar was an
    authorized Officer, competent to investigate and file a report for
    the offences under the Act including of an offence under Section
    13(1)(e) of the Act.
  27. Another finding recorded by the High Court is that the informant
    cannot be the investigating officer. Such a finding is based upon
    Ch. Sudhakar being both the informant and the initiator of the
    investigations. The High Court derives support from the judgment
    16
    of this Court reported as Mohan Lal v. State of Punjab
    13
    to hold
    that a fair investigation is the very foundation of fair trial, which
    necessarily postulates that the informant and the investigator must
    not be the same person.
  28. The said judgment however has been held to be prospective in the
    judgment reported as Varinder Kumar v. State of Himachal
    Pradesh
    14
    wherein, this Court has succinctly put as under:
    “18. The criminal justice delivery system, cannot be
    allowed to veer exclusively to the benefit of the offender
    making it uni-directional exercise. A proper
    administration of the criminal justice delivery system,
    therefore requires balancing the rights of the accused
    and the prosecution, so that the law laid down in Mohan
    Lal (supra) is not allowed to become a spring board for
    acquittal in prosecutions prior to the same, irrespective
    of all other considerations. We therefore hold that all
    pending criminal prosecutions, trials and appeals prior to
    the law laid down in Mohan Lal (supra) shall continue to
    be governed by the individual facts of the case.”
  29. Thus, we find that the orders of the High Court to quash the
    proceedings against the Accused Officer are not sustainable and
    are consequently, set aside. Accordingly, the appeal filed by the
    State is allowed and the matter is remitted back to the learned trial
    court for further proceedings in accordance with law.
  30. Coming to the appeal filed by the Accused Officer, Mr. Guru Krishna
    Kumar, learned senior counsel vehemently argued that a
    preliminary inquiry before the registration of a crime is mandatory.
    Reference was made to a judgment reported as Lalita Kumari v.
    13 (2018) 17 SCC 627
    14 2019 SCC OnLine SC 170
    17
    Government of Uttar Pradesh & Ors.
    15
    as well as the judgment
    reported as State by Karnataka Lokayukta Police Station,
    Bengaluru v. M.R. Hiremath
    16
    .
  31. In Lalita Kumari, the Court has laid down the cases in which a
    preliminary inquiry is warranted, more so, to avoid an abuse of the
    process of law rather than vesting any right in favour of an
    accused. Herein, the argument made was that if a police officer is
    doubtful about the veracity of an accusation, he has to conduct a
    preliminary inquiry and that in certain appropriate cases, it would
    be proper for such officer, on the receipt of a complaint of a
    cognizable offence, to satisfy himself that prima facie, the
    allegations levelled against the accused in the complaint are
    credible. It was thus held as under:-
    “73. In terms of the language used in Section 154 of the
    Code, the police is duty bound to proceed to conduct
    investigation into a cognizable offence even without
    receiving information (i.e. FIR) about commission of such
    an offence, if the officer in charge of the police station
    otherwise suspects the commission of such an offence.
    The legislative intent is therefore quite clear, i.e., to
    ensure that every cognizable offence is promptly
    investigated in accordance with law. This being the legal
    position, there is no reason that there should be any
    discretion or option left with the police to register or not
    to register an FIR when information is given about the
    commission of a cognizable offence. Every cognizable
    offence must be investigated promptly in accordance
    with law and all information provided under Section 154
    of the Code about the commission of a cognizable
    offence must be registered as an FIR so as to initiate an
    offence. The requirement of Section 154 of the Code is
    only that the report must disclose the commission of a
    cognizable offence and that is sufficient to set the
    investigating machinery into action.”
    15 (2014) 2 SCC 1
    16 (2019) 7 SCC 515
    18
  32. The Court concluded that the registration of an FIR is mandatory
    under Section 154 of the Code if the information discloses
    commission of a cognizable offence and no preliminary inquiry is
    permissible in such a situation. This court held as under:
    “111. In view of the aforesaid discussion, we hold:
    i) Registration of FIR is mandatory under Section 154 of
    the Code, if the information discloses commission of a
    cognizable offence and no preliminary inquiry is
    permissible in such a situation.
    ii) If the information received does not disclose a
    cognizable offence but indicates the necessity for an
    inquiry, a preliminary inquiry may be conducted only to
    ascertain whether cognizable offence is disclosed or not.
    iii) If the inquiry discloses the commission of a cognizable
    offence, the FIR must be registered. In cases where
    preliminary inquiry ends in closing the complaint, a copy
    of the entry of such closure must be supplied to the first
    informant forthwith and not later than one week. It must
    disclose reasons in brief for closing the complaint and
    not proceeding further.
    iv) The police officer cannot avoid his duty of registering
    offence if cognizable offence is disclosed. Action must be
    taken against erring officers who do not register the FIR if
    information received by him discloses a cognizable
    offence.
    v) The scope of preliminary inquiry is not to verify the
    veracity or otherwise of the information received but only
    to ascertain whether the information reveals any
    cognizable offence.
    vi) As to what type and in which cases preliminary
    inquiry is to be conducted will depend on the facts and
    circumstances of each case. The category of cases in
    which preliminary inquiry may be made are as under:
    a) Matrimonial disputes/ family disputes
    19
    b) Commercial offences
    c) Medical negligence cases
    d) Corruption cases.”
  33. It must be pointed that this Court has not held that a preliminary
    inquiry is a must in all cases. A preliminary enquiry may be
    conducted pertaining to Matrimonial disputes/family disputes,
    Commercial offences, Medical negligence cases, Corruption cases
    etc. The judgment of this court in Lalita Kumari does not state
    that proceedings cannot be initiated against an accused without
    conducting a preliminary inquiry.
  34. In M.R. Hiremath, this Court set aside an order on an application
    for discharge under Section 239 of the Code, inter alia, for the
    reason that a certificate under Section 65B of Evidence Act had not
    been produced while relying upon the evidence of a spy camera.
    An argument was raised that the spy camera has been given by
    the investigating officer even before investigations were formally
    started. On the strength of such fact, an argument was raised by
    Mr. Guru Krishna Kumar, learned counsel for the Accused Officer,
    that without conducting a preliminary inquiry the FIR could not
    have been lodged. This Court in M.R. Hiremath held that when
    the investigating officer had handed over the spy camera to the
    complainant, the purpose was to ascertain, in the course of the
    preliminary inquiry, whether information furnished by the
    complainant could form the basis of lodging an FIR. It was held to
    be a preliminary inquiry to ascertain whether the information
    20
    revealed a cognizable offence. The Court held as under:
    “23. In the present case, on 15-11-2016, the
    complainant is alleged to have met the respondent.
    During the course of the meeting, a conversation was
    recorded on a spy camera. Prior thereto, the
    investigating officer had handed over the spy camera to
    the complainant. This stage does not represent the
    commencement of the investigation. At that stage, the
    purpose was to ascertain, in the course of a preliminary
    inquiry, whether the information which was furnished by
    the complainant would form the basis of lodging a first
    information report. In other words, the purpose of the
    exercise which was carried out on 15-11-2012 was a
    preliminary enquiry to ascertain whether the
    information reveals a cognizable offence.”
  35. The said judgment does not help the learned counsel for the
    Accused Officer. The scope and ambit of a preliminary inquiry
    being necessary before lodging an FIR would depend upon the
    facts of each case. There is no set format or manner in which a
    preliminary inquiry is to be conducted. The objective of the same
    is only to ensure that a criminal investigation process is not
    initiated on a frivolous and untenable complaint. That is the test
    laid down in Lalita Kumari.
  36. In the present case, the FIR itself shows that the information
    collected is in respect of disproportionate assets of the Accused
    Officer. The purpose of a preliminary inquiry is to screen wholly
    frivolous and motivated complaints, in furtherance of acting fairly
    and objectively. Herein, relevant information was available with the
    informant in respect of prima facie allegations disclosing a
    21
    cognizable offence. Therefore, once the officer recording the FIR is
    satisfied with such disclosure, he can proceed against the accused
    even without conducting any inquiry or by any other manner on
    the basis of the credible information received by him. It cannot be
    said that the FIR is liable to be quashed for the reason that the
    preliminary inquiry was not conducted. The same can only be
    done if upon a reading of the entirety of an FIR, no offence is
    disclosed. Reference in this regard, is made to a judgment of this
    Court reported as State of Haryana v. Bhajan Lal
    17 wherein, this
    Court held inter alia that where the allegations made in the FIR or
    the complaint, even if they are taken at their face value and
    accepted in their entirety, do not prima facie constitute any
    offence or make out a case against the accused and also where a
    criminal proceeding is manifestly attended with mala fide and/or
    where the proceeding is maliciously instituted with an ulterior
    motive for wreaking vengeance on the accused and with a view to
    spite him due to private and personal grudge.
  37. Therefore, we hold that the preliminary inquiry warranted in Lalita
    Kumari is not required to be mandatorily conducted in all
    corruption cases. It has been reiterated by this Court in multiple
    instances that the type of preliminary inquiry to be conducted will
    depend on the facts and circumstances of each case. There are no
    fixed parameters on which such inquiry can be said to be
    conducted. Therefore, any formal and informal collection of
    17 1992 Supp (1) SCC 335
    22
    information disclosing a cognizable offence to the satisfaction of
    the person recording the FIR is sufficient.
  38. We also do not find any merit in the argument that there has been
    no sanction before the filing of the report. The sanction can be
    produced by the prosecution during the course of trial, so the
    same may not be necessary after retirement of the Accused Officer.
    This Court in K. Kalimuthu v. State by DSP
    18
    held as under:
    “15. The question relating to the need of sanction under
    Section 197 of the Code is not necessarily to be
    considered as soon as the complaint is lodged and on the
    allegations contained therein. This question may arise at
    any stage of the proceeding. The question whether
    sanction is necessary or not may have to be determined
    from stage to stage…”
  39. The High Court has rightly held that no ground is made out for
    quashing of the proceedings for the reason that the investigating
    agency intentionally waited till the retirement of the Accused Officer. The question as to whether a sanction is necessary to prosecute the Accused Officer, a retired public servant, is a question
    which can be examined during the course of the trial as held by
    this Court in K. Kalimuthu. In fact, in a recent judgment in Vinod
    Kumar Garg v. State (Government of National Capital Territory of Delhi)
    19
    , this Court has held that if an investigation was
    not conducted by a police officer of the requisite rank and status
    required under Section 17 of the Act, such lapse would be an irregularity, however unless such irregularity results in causing preju18 (2005) 4 SCC 512
    19 Criminal Appeal No. 1781 of 2009 decided on 27th November, 2019
    23
    dice, conviction will not be vitiated or be bad in law. Therefore, the
    lack of sanction was rightly found not to be a ground for quashing
    of the proceedings.
  40. Mr. Guru Krishna Kumar further refers to a Single Bench judgment
    of the Madras High Court in M. Soundararajan v. State through
    the Deputy Superintendant of Police, Vigilance and Anti
    Corruption, Ramanathapuram20
    to contend that amended provisions of the Act as amended by Act XVI of 2018 would be applicable as the Amending Act came into force before filing of the charge
    sheet. We do not find any merit in the said argument. In the aforesaid case, the learned trial court applied amended provisions in the
    Act which came into force on 26th July, 2018 and acquitted both the
    accused from charge under Section 13(1)(d) read with 13(2) of the
    Act. The High Court found that the order of the trial court to apply
    the amended provisions of the Act was not justified and remanded
    the matter back observing that the offences were committed prior
    to the amendments being carried out. In the present case, the FIR
    was registered on 9th November, 2011 much before the Act was
    amended in the year 2018. Whether any offence has been committed or not has to be examined in the light of the provisions of the
    statute as it existed prior to the amendment carried out on 26th
    July, 2018.
    20 Crl. A. (MD) No. 488 of 2018 and Crl. M.P. (MD) No. 8712 of 2018 decided on 30th October,
    2018.
    24
  41. In view thereof, we do not find any merit in the reasonings
    recorded by the High Court in respect of contentions raised by the
    Accused Officer. The arguments raised by the Accused Officer cannot be accepted in quashing the proceedings under the Act. Accordingly, Criminal Appeal No. 1663 of 2019 filed by the Accused
    Officer is dismissed whereas Criminal Appeal No. 1662 of 2019 filed
    by the State is allowed.
    ………………………………………J.
    (L. NAGESWARA RAO)
    ………………………………………J.
    (HEMANT GUPTA)
    NEW DELHI;
    DECEMBER 06, 2019.
    25