Thursday, 6 August 2015

Whether it is necessary to obtain sanction against each accused when prosecution is initiated by govt servant in case of defamation?

By careful reading of Section 199(4) of the
Cr.P.C., it does not indicate that in order to initiate
criminal proceedings against the accused, the public
servant needs to obtain sanction from the State
Government in respect of each one of the persons
against whom the same transaction of offence is alleged
and the names of the accused are required to be
mentioned specifically in the sanction order accorded
by the State Government. It is sufficient if one
sanction is accorded to prosecute all the concerned
persons involved in that occurrence, thus, the
contention on behalf of the appellants in this regard
is also liable to be rejected and is accordingly
rejected.

REPORTABLE
IN THE SUPREME COURT OF INDIA
CRIMINAL APPELLATE JURISDICTION
CRIMINAL APPEAL NO.857 OF 2012
RAJDEEP SARDESAI ………APPELLANT
Vs.
STATE OF ANDHRA PRADESH & ORS. …RESPONDENTS
WITH
Citation; AIR 2015 SC2182

 The present group of appeals is directed against
the final common judgment and order dated 29.4.2011
passed by the High Court of Judicature of Andhra
Pradesh at Hyderabad in Criminal Petition No. 1638 of
2008 and batch matters whereby, the High Court
dismissed all the criminal petitions except Criminal
Petition No. 7592 of 2007, which were filed against the
order of summoning in various complaints filed by the
Government of Andhra Pradesh on behalf of the second
respondent. The following table would be apposite to
clarify which appeal is filed against which criminal
petition/complaint case:-Page 3
 Crl. A. No. 857 of 2012 3
Crl. Appeal Nos.
before this Court
Crl. Petns.
arising from
Complaint
Nos.
Complaint
filed for
defamation
under
Section
(s)against
appellants
Permission
given for
filing
complaint
vide
Sanction
Nos.
857/2012
(Rajdeep Sardesai v.
State of A.P. &
ors.)
850/2012
(Sidhartha Gautam v.
State of A.P. & Ors.)
852/2012
(Swati Vashistha &
Anr. v. State of A.P.
& Ors.)
853/2012
(V.K. Shashikuamr v.
State of A.P. & Ors.)
855/2012
(Ahmed Ali Shaik &
Anr. v. State of A.P.
& Ors.)
856/2012
(Hemender Sharma &
Ors. v. State of A.P.
& Ors.)
Crl. P. Nos.
1874, 1590, 1646
& 1638 of 2008
filed before
High Court
against CC No.
1/2008 - reg.
telecasting a
news programme
in CNN-IBN
English News
channel under
the caption “20
minutes-Sohrabud
din Inside
Story” on
13.5.2007 at
1730 hrs.
199(2) Cr.PC
before the
Court IV,
Addl.
Metropolitan
Sessions
Judge,
Nampally
imposing
charges
under
Sections
499, 500 and
120B of IPC
G.O. Rt.
No.6581
dated
27.10.2007
Crl.A.Nos.854/2012
(Gulab Kothari &
Ors. v. State of
A.P. & Anr.)
and 858/2012
(Hemender Sharma &
Ors. v. State of
A.P. & Ors.
Crl. P. No. 264
of 2008 before
High Court
against CC
No.3/2008-reg.
publication of
news item in
Rajasthan
Patrika,
Saturday Edn.
dated 12.5.2007
under the
Heading
“Vanjara Par
Kastha Phanda
199(2) r/w
Sec. 200
Cr.PC before
the Court of
II Addl.
Metropolitan
Sessions
Judge,
Nampally,
imposing
charges
under Ss.
499, 500,
501, 502 and
120B of IPC
G.O. Rt.
No.6582
dated
27.10.2007Page 4
 Crl. A. No. 857 of 2012 4
Crl.A.851/2012
(Lateef Mohammad Khan
v. State of A.P. &
Anr.)
Crl. P. No.1252
of 2008 filed
before High
Court against
CC
No.24/2007-reg.
publication of
news items in
Siasath Urdu
Daily, dated
8.5.2007
199(2) r/w
Sec.200
Cr.PC before
the court of
I Addl.
Metropolitan
Sessions
Judge,
Hyderabad
imposing
allegations
under
Sections
499, 500,
501, 502 and
120B of IPC
G.O. Rt.
No.6580 and
dated
27.10.2007
2. Brief facts of the case are stated hereunder:
 A news item on various dates in the year 2007,
allegedly making false implication against the second
respondent-Rajiv Trivedi, Additional Commissioner of
Police (Crimes and SIT), Hyderabad, Andhra Pradesh,
with regard to the Sohrabuddin encounter case was
published by the appellants in the respective
publications and was telecast on CNN-IBN. A
representation was given by the second-respondent to
the Andhra Pradesh State Government seeking previous
sanction under Section 199(4)(b) of the Code ofPage 5
 Crl. A. No. 857 of 2012 5
Criminal Procedure (in short ‘Cr.P.C.’) for prosecution
of the appellants for offences punishable under the
provisions referred to supra. Accordingly, the previous
sanction was accorded by the State Government vide G.O.
Rt. Nos. 6581, 6582, 6583 and 6580 dated 27.10.2007 in
favour of the second respondent permitting him to file
complaints against the appellants through the State
Public Prosecutor before the appropriate court of law
against the individuals connected with electronic and
print media as hereinbelow:
a) Siyasat Urdu Daily: Sri Latif Mohammad Khan
b) CNN-IBN English News Channel
c) Rajasthan Patrika (Jaipur) Hindi daily
d) The Deccan Chronicle English Daily
e) The Etemaad Urdu Daily
(points (a)-(e) are hereinafter referred to as
‘individual print and electronic media’)
3. One of the above mentioned news items which was
telecast on CNN-IBN English News channel under the
caption “30 minutes- Sohrabuddin the Inside Story” on
13.5.2007 at 1730 hours, which is subject matter of CCPage 6
 Crl. A. No. 857 of 2012 6
No. 1 of 2008, is extracted hereunder for our
examination:-
“Police sources say Vanjara and Pandian nabbed
Kousarbai in Bidar with help from S.P. Rajiv
Trivedi of the Hyderabad Special Investigation
Unit……… Rajiv Trivedi provided cars with fake
number plates in which Sohrabuddin was brought
to Ahmedabad and then killed in a fake
encounter.”
4. Pursuant to the above said sanction accorded by
the State Government of Andhra Pradesh, the criminal
proceedings were initiated by the State Public
Prosecutor on behalf of the State of Andhra Pradesh
against the appellants. The State of Andhra Pradesh
represented by the State Public Prosecutor filed the
complaints against the accused-appellants for the
offences referred to supra. The Additional Metropolitan
Sessions Judge before whom complaints were instituted
by the State Public Prosecutor, has taken the
cognizance of the offences alleged against the
appellants and passed orders summoning them to appearPage 7
 Crl. A. No. 857 of 2012 7
before the Court for further proceedings in the
respective cases.
5. Aggrieved by the summoning orders passed by the
Additional Metropolitan Sessions Judge in C.C. No. 27
of 2007, C.C. NO. 3 of 2007, and C.C. No.24 of 2007,
the appellants filed Crl. P. Nos. 7592 of 2007, 264 of
2008 and 1252 of 2008 under Section 482 of Cr.P.C.
before the High Court of Andhra Pradesh, seeking to
quash the same, urging various legal contentions.
6. The High Court after hearing all the above said
petitions together, adverting to the previous sanction
order accorded in favour of respondent No. 2 by the
State Government under Section 199(4)(b) of the
Cr.P.C., permitting the State Public Prosecutor to
initiate criminal proceedings for the offences alleged
against the appellants referred to supra and after
dealing with the contentions with regard to the
legality and validity of the said sanction orders read
with the Rules and adverting to various judgments of
this Court, allowed only Criminal Petition No. 7592 ofPage 8
 Crl. A. No. 857 of 2012 8
2007 (M.J. Akbar & Anr. v. The State of A.P.) and
dismissed all other criminal petitions holding that the
news telecast in the electronic media by CNN-IBN and
other news items published in various newspapers of the
appellants per se are integrally connected with the
official discharge of duties of the second respondent
and held that whether the same amounts to defamatory,
libel or scandalous statements is a matter that has to
be decided on the evidence to be adduced by the
parties. The High Court further held that in the
absence of any privilege to the broadcaster on par with
Section 7 of the Press and Registration of Books Act,
1867, the appellants cannot claim to quash the criminal
proceedings initiated against them and there was no
merit to quash the said criminal proceedings against
the appellants. Aggrieved by the common order of the
High Court, these appeals are filed by the appellants
raising certain substantial questions of law for
consideration of this Court.Page 9
 Crl. A. No. 857 of 2012 9
7. Learned senior counsel Mr. Guru Krishna Kumar
appearing on behalf of the appellants in Criminal
Appeal Nos. 850, 852, 853, 855, 856, 857 of 2012 has
contended that the State Public Prosecutor cannot make
a complaint under Section 199(2) of Cr.P.C. against an
individual in respect of whom no sanction has been
accorded by the State Government as required under
Section 199(4) of the Cr.P.C.
8. It is further contended by him on behalf of the
appellants that they have been summoned on the
complaint instituted by the State Public Prosecutor on
behalf of the second respondent on the basis of the
previous sanction order accorded by the State
Government under Section 199(4) of the Cr.P.C. for
prosecuting the individual electronic and print media
involved in the case on hand and not for the
prosecution of any named individual in the said
sanction order and therefore, there is no application
of mind on the part of the State Government while
according the previous sanction orders in favour of thePage 10
 Crl. A. No. 857 of 2012 10
second respondent to initiate criminal proceedings
under the said provisions referred to supra against the
appellants herein.
9. It is further contended on behalf of the
appellants that the High Court has erred in dismissing
the criminal petitions of the appellants and not
quashing the criminal proceedings against the orders of
summons passed by the Additional Metropolitan Sessions
Judge after taking cognizance of the complaints filed
by the public prosecutor against the appellants, which
are not maintainable in law. It is contended by him
that the High Court has also not considered the
relevant fact that telecasting the story by the
appellant is not in connection with discharge of public
functions of the second respondent being a public
servant and this aspect of the matter has not been
dealt with by the High Court thereby, it has rendered
the findings as erroneous in law and therefore, the
same are liable to be set aside.Page 11
 Crl. A. No. 857 of 2012 11
10. Further, it is contended by him that the High
Court has failed to take into consideration an
important aspect of the matter namely, the State
Government while examining the representation submitted
by the second respondent for according previous
sanction as required under Section 199(4) of the
Cr.P.C. and All India Services (Conduct) Rules of 1968,
in his favour authorising the State Public Prosecutor
to initiate criminal proceedings against the appellants
does not reflect application of mind on the part of the
State Government as they have failed to find out
whether or not the comments made against the second
respondent by the individual electronic and print media
have got content which are defamatory, scandalous or
libellous and whether the same warrant the State
Government to permit such institution of criminal
proceedings against the appellants under Chapter XXI of
the Indian Penal Code, 1860. Therefore, it is contended
that the above explained reasons would show lack of
application of mind on the part of the State GovernmentPage 12
 Crl. A. No. 857 of 2012 12
to the facts presented to it and therefore, the
impugned sanction order accorded by it in favour of the
second respondent to initiate criminal proceedings
against the appellants under the provisions of Cr.P.C.
referred to supra is vitiated in law and is liable to
be set aside.
11. Further, it is contended by the learned senior
counsel that the High Court has also failed to take
into consideration another relevant fact that the
criminal complaints instituted by respondent No.
1-State Government against the appellants, is silent
about their role in committing the alleged offence of
telecasting/publishing comments and allegations against
the second respondent which are allegedly defamatory,
libellous and scandalous.
12. It is also contended on behalf of the appellants
that the High Court has failed to appreciate that to
arraign the appellants as the accused, the complainant
ought to have made positive averments against them in
the complaints and attributed a specific role to eachPage 13
 Crl. A. No. 857 of 2012 13
one of them in committing the alleged offence,
warranting initiation of criminal proceedings, the same
has not been done, therefore, the summoning order
issued by the Metropolitan Sessions Judge and the
complaints filed against the appellants by the State
Public Prosecutor are not sustainable in law and are
liable to be quashed. The learned senior counsel in
support of his contentions has placed reliance upon the
following judgments of this Court in the cases of Gour
Chandra Rout & Anr. v. The Public Prosecutor, Cuttack1,
P.C. Joshi & Anr. v. The State of Uttar Pradesh2,
Mansukhlal Vithaldas Chauhan v. State of Gujarat3 and
Urmila Devi v. Yudhvir Singh4.
13. Further, the learned senior counsel placing
reliance upon Section 196(2) of Cr.P.C. contended that
a specific sanction order is required to prosecute in
respect of each person to initiate criminal proceedings
under Section 120-B of I.P.C., the same has not been
1 AIR 1963 SC 1198
2 AIR 1961 SC 387
3
(1997) 7 SCC 622
4
(2013) 15 SCC 624/ 2013 SCALE 513Page 14
 Crl. A. No. 857 of 2012 14
obtained by the second respondent. In support of this
contention he placed reliance upon the judgment of this
Court in the case of Madan Lal v. The State of Punjab5.
14. Mr. Aruneshwar Gupta, the learned counsel
appearing for the appellants in Criminal Appeal Nos.
854 and 858 of 2012, reiterated the aforesaid legal
submissions made by Mr. Guru Krishna Kumar, the learned
senior counsel on behalf of the appellants referred to
supra. It is further contended by him in Criminal
Appeal No. 854 of 2012 that it is evident from the
notice dated 13.8.2007 that the sanction for the
prosecution was sought against the Editor, News
Reporter and Printer and Publisher of Rajasthan Patrika
newspaper, however, no sanction was sought against the
Appellant Nos.1, 2 and 3 in Criminal Appeal No. 854 of
2012 who are the Editor in Chief, Advisor and printer
and publisher of the said newspaper. After perusal of
all the documents and material on record, the State
Government granted sanction only against the Editor of
Rajasthan Patrika Newspaper (the appellant in Criminal
5 AIR 1967 SC 1590Page 15
 Crl. A. No. 857 of 2012 15
Appeal No. 858 of 2012) by its order dated 27.10.2007,
after proper application of mind. The application for
grant of sanction against appellant Nos.1-3 who are the
Editor in Chief, Advisor and Printer and Publisher was
specifically rejected by the State Government,
therefore, the criminal proceedings initiated against
them is not valid in law.
15. It is further contended by him that since the
respondents have not challenged the sanction accorded
by the State Government dated 27.10.2007, authorising
the criminal proceedings against the Editor and
rejecting grant of sanction order against appellant
Nos.1-3 in Crl. Appeal No.854 of 2012, the same has
become final, therefore, the public prosecutor has no
authority to file any criminal complaint against the
appellants in Criminal Appeal No.854 of 2012 who are
the Editor-in-Chief, Advisor and Printer and Publisher
of Rajasthan Patrika. He contended that what cannot be
derived directly cannot be obtained indirectly by the
process of court proceedings. He further placedPage 16
 Crl. A. No. 857 of 2012 16
reliance on the decision of this Court in the case of
Jagir Singh v. Ranbir Singh and Anr.6, contending
that in the absence of sanction to prosecute a named
person, the public prosecutor cannot file a complaint
and the Trial Court has no jurisdiction to judicially
review the sanction order and issue summons against
those persons whose name do not specifically appear as
accused in the order of sanction accorded by the State
Government. It is further contended that this aspect of
the matter has not at all been considered by the High
Court even though the legal submission was made in this
regard before it.
16. Both the learned counsel on behalf of the
appellants contended that there must be valid and
cogent material before the State Government for
according previous sanction in favour of the second
respondent permitting him to initiate criminal
proceedings against the appellants. It is contended by
them that the State Government should have examined the
6 AIR 1979 SC 381Page 17
 Crl. A. No. 857 of 2012 17
facts, allegations and names of the accused and then
should have reasonably applied its mind to conclude
whether or not the reputation of the second respondent
while discharging his public function as a public
servant was intended to be harmed. Only after such
reasonable application of mind by the State Government
to the facts placed before it, the sanction can be
accorded by it in favour of the second respondent to
initiate criminal proceedings and only then the court
of sessions shall take cognizance of such offence in
the criminal proceedings initiated against the
appellants. This aspect of the matter has not been
considered by the learned Judge of the High Court while
passing the impugned Judgment. Therefore, the impugned
judgment and order is vitiated in law and liable to be
set aside.
17. It is further urged by the learned counsel on
behalf of the appellants that the High Court has
erroneously held that under the scheme of Section 199
of the Cr.P.C., the previous sanction is requiredPage 18
 Crl. A. No. 857 of 2012 18
against all such persons who have allegedly committed
the offence and not necessarily against specific
individuals in order to prosecute them for the offences
committed against a person in respect of his conduct in
the discharge of his public functions who at that time
was a public servant employed in connection with the
affairs of the Union or State. Therefore, it is
contended on behalf of the appellants in Criminal
Appeal No. 858 of 2012 that the criminal proceedings
initiated by the first respondent on behalf of the
second respondent should have been confined to only
against those persons named in the Government sanction
order for the offences referred to supra.
18. Mr. Aruneshwar Gupta, the learned counsel for the
appellants in Criminal Appeal Nos.854 and 858 of 2012
further contended that several investigations were
carried out pursuant to the orders passed by this Court
in the Sohrabuddin case and on 12.5.2007, a report was
submitted by Ms. Johri which finds reference in
judgment of this Court in the case of RubabbuddinPage 19
 Crl. A. No. 857 of 2012 19
Sheikh v. State of Gujarat and Ors.7. The fact of the
investigation by the CBI in Sohrabuddin’s case was in
public domain and if that is published in the print
media by the appellant (in Crl. A. Nos. 854 & 858 of
2012), the same cannot be made the basis of any
defamation as it has referred to the judgment in the
aforesaid case which is a public record.
19. It is also further contended by him that Rajasthan
Patrika is a subscriber of United News of India (UNI)
which is one of the largest News Agencies in India,
providing news to several news papers in India. The UNI
published and broadcast the news item dated 12.05.2007
and the appellants in Criminal Appeal No. 858 of 2012,
being the Editor of Rajasthan Patrika got the same
translated in Hindi and published it in their news
paper which is allegedly defamatory to the second
respondent. It is further contended by him that United
News of India is the source and first broadcaster of
the alleged defamatory news to its subscribers
7 2010 (2 ) SCC 200Page 20
 Crl. A. No. 857 of 2012 20
including the newspaper for which the appellant is the
Editor, who acted and published in bona fide the
alleged offending news believing it to be true and
correct. Therefore, in the absence of any prosecution
of UNI, the appellant cannot be prosecuted for the
offence of defamation as the same is covered under the
Explanation 3 of Section 499 of I.P.C.
20. It is further contended that freedom of expression
demands that criminal defamation in relation to
publication of news items and articles may not be
invoked in all the cases but should be limited to only
exceptional cases to redress the immediate harm done to
the reputation of the individuals who have been defamed
and shall not be allowed to be used as remedy to serve
the ulterior goal as the same will have a negative and
damaging effect on the freedom of expression guaranteed
to the press.
21. It is further contended by him that Section 499 of
I.P.C. defines the offence of defamation as spoken or
written, Section 501 of I.P.C. is for defamatoryPage 21
 Crl. A. No. 857 of 2012 21
printing or engraving of defamatory matter and Section
502 of I.P.C. is for sale of printed or engraved
substances containing defamatory material. Therefore,
Section 499 of I.P.C. would cover the Editor while
Section 501 will cover the Publisher and Printer and
Section 502 of I.P.C. covers the seller. As the
offences mentioned under Sections 501 and 502 of I.P.C.
are specifically distinct offences which are against
the Publisher and the Seller, therefore, the previous
sanction order was granted in favour of the second
respondent against the Editor of the Newspapers and
rejected against the Printer and Publisher. Therefore,
in these appeals, the appellants cannot be tried for
the offences under Section 499, 501, 502 of I.P.C. with
the aid of Section 120-B of I.P.C. as the liability of
defamation is only limited to the Editor.
22. In Criminal Appeal No. 851 of 2012, Mr. Abhimanue
Shrestha, the learned counsel appearing for
appellant-Mr. Lateef Mohd. Khan, General Secretary,
Civil Liberties Monitoring Committee, who has allegedlyPage 22
 Crl. A. No. 857 of 2012 22
made certain false and baseless statements against the
second respondent under the news item “Rajiv
Trivedi-Hyderabad Ka Vanjara” “Fauri Bharkhast Karne Ka
Mutalika” published on 8.5.2007 in Siyasat Urdu Daily,
contended that the appellant is neither the Publisher
nor the Seller of the said Urdu Daily, therefore, one
would believe that he made such statements on the basis
of the information through electronic and print media.
It is therefore, contended that in view of the nature
of the allegations against the second respondent, the
appellant who is the Secretary of the Civil Liberties
Monitoring Committee made the above statements
published in Siyasat Urdu Daily to make the public
aware of the same. The alleged offences are not
attracted against him as the allegations in the
complaint do not constitute any of the offences under
Sections 500, 501, 502 and 120-B of I.P.C. The learned
counsel questioned the legality and validity of
previous sanction accorded by the State Government in
favour of the second respondent to prosecute thePage 23
 Crl. A. No. 857 of 2012 23
appellant in the said appeal by placing reliance on the
decisions of this Court in the cases of Kartar Singh &
Ors. v. The State of Punjab8 and R. Rajagopal & Anr. v.
State of T.N. & Ors.9
23. On the other hand, Mr. P. Vishwanath Shetty, the
learned senior counsel appearing on behalf of the State
has sought to justify the sanction order authorising
the Public Prosecutor to institute criminal proceedings
against the appellants herein, the same was accorded
after applying its mind to the facts stated in the
representation given by the second respondent that the
statements telecast and published in the electronic and
print media by the appellants were defamatory and
affected his reputation and the same were in connection
with the discharge of his public functions as an IPS
Officer. The State Government after applying its mind
was satisfied that the reputation of the second
respondent was harmed by printing and telecasting the
defamatory statements by the appellants herein.
8 AIR 1956 SC 541 : 1956 SCR 476
9
(1994) 6 SCC 632Page 24
 Crl. A. No. 857 of 2012 24
Therefore, it accorded the sanction order under Section
199(4) of Cr.P.C. in favour of the second respondent to
initiate criminal proceedings against the appellant,
which provision does not speak of mentioning the names
against whom the criminal prosecution has to be
instituted by the State Public Prosecutor.
24. He has further contended that the learned
Additional Metropolitan Sessions Judge, after applying
his mind with regard to the allegations made against
the appellants took cognizance of the matter and issued
order of summons to the appellants to appear before the
sessions court with their respective counter to the
criminal proceedings initiated against them. The same
was stalled by the appellants herein by initiating
proceedings before the High Court and this Court. It is
contended by him that the challenge before the High
Court has been rightly rejected after dealing with each
one of the rival legal contentions urged in the
Criminal Petitions filed by the appellants, which do
not warrant interference by this Court in exercise ofPage 25
 Crl. A. No. 857 of 2012 25
its appellate jurisdiction, as the appellants are
required to face the trial in the proceedings initiated
against them by respondent No. 1- the State Government.
25. Mr. Pappu Nageshwar Rao, the learned counsel
appearing for the second respondent, sought to justify
the sanction accorded in favour of the second
respondent by drawing our attention to the provisions
of Sections 132, 188, 196, 197, 199 of Cr.P.C. He
sought to distinguish previous sanction provided under
Section 194 and placed reliance upon the judgments of
various High Courts in the cases of Master Girdhari
Lal, Printer & Publisher of Naya Bharat v. The State10,
Pachhalloor Noohu v. Public Prosecutor11, Sant Lal v.
Krishan Lal12 and B. Basavalingappa and Anr. v. V.
Narasimhan13 in support of the proposition of law that
previous sanction order by the State Government can be
granted under Section 198B (3)(a)of the Code of
Criminal Procedure, 1898, by any Secretary or
10 1969 CriLJ P&H 1318
11 1975 CriLJ Kerala 1304
12 1976 CriLJ Delhi 215
13 1974 CriLJ Karnataka 66Page 26
 Crl. A. No. 857 of 2012 26
authorisation of the Government in favour of a public
servant to prosecute the persons who have committed
offences of defamation against him. He further placed
reliance upon Section 308 proviso 2 and Section 473 of
Cr.P.C., regarding the limitation for sanction and
Section 484 of Cr.P.C. regarding sanction saving clause
to justify that the sanction accorded by the State
Government to prosecute the appellants herein is
perfectly legal and valid. He therefore urged that in
view of the above, the sanction accorded by the State
Government in favour of second respondent cannot be
found fault with by the appellants and prayed for
dismissal of these appeals.
26. We have heard the rival legal contentions urged on
behalf of learned counsel for both the parties and
answer the same by assigning the following reasons.
 With regard to the contention urged by learned
senior counsel Mr. Guru Krishna Kumar on behalf of the
appellants in Criminal Appeal No.857 of 2012 and
connected appeals that the High Court has notPage 27
 Crl. A. No. 857 of 2012 27
considered all the issues raised before it in the
criminal petitions filed by the appellants seeking for
quashing of the criminal proceedings initiated against
them, is wholly untenable in law for the reason that
from perusal of the impugned order of the High Court,
it is clear that the sanction was accorded by the State
Government under the relevant Government order in
favour of the second respondent. On examining the
facts, circumstances and evidence on record, the
previous sanction is accorded to launch necessary
prosecution against the CNN-IBN channel, Siyasat Urdu
Daily: Sri Latif Mohammad Khan, Rajasthan Patrika
(Jaipur) Hindi daily, Deccan Chronicle English Daily
and Etemaad Urdu Daily. By careful reading of the
provision under Section 199 of Cr.P.C., read with the
All India Services (Conduct) Rules, 1968, it provides
that previous sanction must be accorded, authorising
the initiation of criminal prosecution against the
accused, however, the said provisions do not state that
it is necessary to mention the names of each one of thePage 28
 Crl. A. No. 857 of 2012 28
accused who are alleged to have committed the offence
in the same alleged transaction. Therefore, in the case
on hand, when the previous sanction was accorded by the
State Government against those who were responsible for
the telecast/publication of the news both in electronic
and print media which according to the second
respondent damaged his reputation, it is not necessary
for the State Government to separately issue sanction
order against each one of the appellants, when they are
all responsible for telecasting and publishing the said
news item in the electronic and print media and also
when the names of the said electronic and print media
have already been mentioned in the said sanction order.
Therefore, there is no merit in the contention urged on
behalf of the appellants that their names have not been
specifically mentioned in the said sanction order. The
said contention is untenable in law and therefore,
liable to be rejected. The same is accordingly
rejected.Page 29
 Crl. A. No. 857 of 2012 29
27. Further, the reliance placed by the learned
counsel on behalf of the appellants upon the judgments
of this Court referred to supra while according
sanction in favour of the second respondent to initiate
the criminal proceedings against the appellants the
State Government has not applied its mind, this
contention is also wholly untenable in law as the
exercise of power by the State Government under Section
199 of Cr.P.C. is in the administrative and ministerial
capacity and according of such sanction is as per the
subjective satisfaction on the part of the State
Government. The learned senior counsel on behalf of the
appellants has placed reliance upon the judgments of
this Court in the cases of Gour Chandra Rout & Anr. v.
The Public Prosecutor, P.C. Joshi & Anr. v. The State
of Uttar Pradesh and Mansukhlal Vithaldas Chauhan v.
State of Gujarat (all referred to supra). With regard
to the above referred cases, the first two cases have
not dealt with the exercise of power under Section 199
of Cr.P.C., except stating the ministerial exercise ofPage 30
 Crl. A. No. 857 of 2012 30
power by the State Government while exercising its
power under Section 198B (3)(a) of Cr.P.C, 1898. In so
far as the third case referred to supra upon which the
reliance placed upon by the learned senior counsel on
behalf of the appellants, the same is in relation to
the previous sanction to be accorded by the State
Government for the purpose of prosecution under the
provisions of the Prevention of Corruption Act.
Therefore, none of the above cases on which reliance
has been placed by the learned counsel on behalf of the
appellants have any relevance to the fact situation on
hand.
28. Having regard to the scheme of the Protection of
Civil Rights Act, 1955, the complainant-second
respondent during the relevant point of time was the
Police Officer in the services of the State Government
and he cannot prosecute the appellants in a court of
law without obtaining previous sanction from the State
Government as contemplated under the aforesaid
provisions of Cr.P.C. Therefore, in order to prosecutePage 31
 Crl. A. No. 857 of 2012 31
the appellants, the second respondent made a
representation to the State Government along with a
petition with regard to initiation of criminal
proceedings against the appellants under the provisions
referred to supra in respect of which he has sought the
sanction of the State Government. On appreciation of
the same, the State Government in exercise of its
administrative powers appreciated the facts of the
matter, rightly applied its mind and accorded the
sanction under Section 199(4) of Cr.P.C. in favour of
the second respondent to initiate criminal proceedings
under the provisions referred to supra against the
appellants. The said sanction was accorded by the State
Government after appreciating that the statements
telecast/published by the appellants in the electronic
and print media as well as the statement given by the
appellant in Criminal Appeal No. 853 of 2012 in the
Urdu Daily on the basis of which the news is published
by its Editor, which are all statements defaming the
second respondent while he was discharging his publicPage 32
 Crl. A. No. 857 of 2012 32
function as a public servant. Therefore, the contention
on behalf of the appellants that there was no
application of mind on the part of the State Government
in according the said sanction is wholly untenable in
law, liable to be rejected and the same is accordingly
rejected.
29. Further, the contention urged by the appellants’
counsel placing reliance upon the aforesaid judgements
that the act of the second respondent allegedly aiding
the Gujarat Police Officers to facilitate taking
Sohrabuddin from Bidar to Ahmedabad, has nothing to do
with the discharge of his public functions, hence, the
said statement in the news item allegedly defaming the
second respondent being telecast and published in
electronic and print media do not attract Section 199
of Cr.P.C. Therefore, it is contended on behalf of the
appellants that the sanction accorded by the State
Government is beyond its jurisdiction as the said act
of aiding the Gujarat Police is an independent act and
it is not in relation to the discharge of publicPage 33
 Crl. A. No. 857 of 2012 33
functions of the second respondent though he, at that
relevant point of time, was discharging his public
functions. This contention on behalf of the appellants
is also wholly untenable in law, for the reason that
determining the question on whether or not the second
respondent while aiding the Gujarat Police at that
point of time was in the capacity of his official
discharge of his public functions or otherwise, is to
be determined by regular trial after examining the
facts, circumstances and evidence on record.
30. The reliance placed upon the judgment of this
Court in the case of Rubabbuddin Sheikh (supra),
contending that the fact of the investigation by the
CBI in Sohrabuddin’s case was the subject matter before
this Court at para 2 of the judgment in the case
referred to supra, therefore, by publishing the same in
the newspaper by the appellants (in Crl. A. Nos. 854 &
858 of 2012) cannot be made the basis of any defamation
as the said news item was published after referring to
the aforesaid judgment which is a public record. ThisPage 34
 Crl. A. No. 857 of 2012 34
contention urged on behalf of the appellants is wholly
untenable in law for the reason that at para 2 of the
said judgment of this Court in the above referred case
is only with regard to the facts of that case, whereas,
the allegations made against the appellants herein are
for publishing and telecasting defamatory statements
against the second respondent, which question of fact
has to be examined, considered and answered only after
regular trial proceedings before the learned Additional
Metropolitan Sessions Judge. Therefore, the above
contention urged in this regard is wholly untenable and
the same is rejected.
31. Further, the learned counsel in Criminal Appeal
Nos. 854 and 858 of 2012, placed reliance upon the
judgment of this Court in the case of Urmila Devi
(supra), in support of the proposition of law that only
the Editor-In-Chief is responsible for the telecast or
publication of the alleged defamatory statements
against whom the sanction order is accorded and that
there is no sanction order accorded to initiatePage 35
 Crl. A. No. 857 of 2012 35
prosecution against others. Further, the contention on
behalf of the appellants that there must be specific
mention of persons in the sanction order against whom
prosecution can be launched and in the absence of the
same, a single sanction order accorded by the State
Government against all the other appellants in the
connected appeals amounts to giving a wider
interpretation of the provision under Section 199(4) of
Cr.P.C., which is not the object of the aforesaid
provision under the Cr.P.C. This aspect of the matter
has not been examined by the High Court; therefore,
impugned order is vitiated in law and is contrary to
the provisions of Section 199(4) of the Cr.P.C.
32. By careful reading of Section 199(4) of the
Cr.P.C., it does not indicate that in order to initiate
criminal proceedings against the accused, the public
servant needs to obtain sanction from the State
Government in respect of each one of the persons
against whom the same transaction of offence is alleged
and the names of the accused are required to be
mentioned specifically in the sanction order accorded
by the State Government. It is sufficient if one
sanction is accorded to prosecute all the concerned
persons involved in that occurrence, thus, the
contention on behalf of the appellants in this regard
is also liable to be rejected and is accordingly
rejected.
33. The contention urged by the learned counsel Mr.
Abhimanue Shrestha on behalf of the appellants in
Criminal Appeal No.851 of 2012 is also untenable in law
for the reasons stated that the appellant has made a
statement on the basis of the news items
telecast/published in electronic and print media. The
same cannot be accepted by us for the reason that it is
a matter that has to be examined by the trial court
after recording the findings of fact on the basis of
valid and cogent evidence to be adduced by the State
Public Prosecutor on behalf of the respondent.
Therefore, there is no substance in the said contention
urged on behalf of the appellants and the same is
rejected.
34. The learned counsel appearing on behalf of the
second respondent rightly sought to justify the
findings and reasons of the High Court in its impugned
judgment, placing reliance on Sections 132, 188, 196,
197 and 199 of Cr.P.C., inter alia contending that for
prosecution of an accused in the case of defamation of
a public servant, sanction can be accorded under the
old Section 198B(3b) of Cr.P.C.,1898, by any Secretary
or authorisation by the Government. He has also placed
reliance upon Section 2U of Cr.P.C. which defines a
Public Prosecutor as any person appointed under Section
24 and included any person acting under the directions
of a Public Prosecutor. The learned counsel on behalf
of the second respondent has rightly justified that the
sanction accorded by the State Government to prosecute
the appellants is perfectly legal and valid by placing
reliance on Section 308 proviso 2, Section 473 of
Cr.P.C. regarding the limitation for sanction and
Section 484 of Cr.P.C. The learned counsel has also
rightly placed reliance upon the judgments in the cases
of Master Girdhari Lal, Printer & Publisher of Naya
Bharat v. The State, Pachhalloor Noohu v. Public
Prosecutor and Sant Lal v. Krishan Lal and B.
Basavalingappa and Anr. v. Narasimhan all referred to
supra. Therefore, the submission made by him is well
founded and the same must be accepted.
35. Further, the learned counsel for the appellants by
placing reliance on Articles 19 and 21 of the
Constitution of India contended that the initiation and
continuance of the criminal proceedings in the present
cases hinder and hamper the very freedom of press which
is most precious and constitute an affront to the
aforesaid provisions under the Constitution of India.
The said contention has been rightly rebutted by the
learned counsel on behalf of the respondents by
strongly urging that the reputation of an individual is
also equally important and that the said aspect of the
matter must be considered after adducing cogent and
valid evidence on record by the Public Prosecutor
before the learned trial Judge who shall then
appreciate the same and record his findings on merits
of the case.
36. In view of the aforesaid reasons, we are of the
opinion that the impugned judgment passed by the High
Court of Andhra Pradesh in rejecting the petitions for
quashing the initiation of criminal proceedings against
the appellants under Section 482 of the Cr.P.C. is
perfectly legal and valid, the same does not call for
interference by this Court in exercise of its appellate
jurisdiction as there is no substantial question of law
framed in the appeals nor is there any miscarriage of
justice for the appellants to interfere with at this
stage. In our considered view, having regard to the
nature of the complaint, the respondents are required
to prove the allegations against the appellants by
adducing valid and cogent evidence, the same has to be
considered by the trial court and accordingly record
the findings on the merits of the case. The appeals
are devoid of merit, liable to be dismissed and are
accordingly dismissed. The orders granting stay of
further proceedings before the trial court shall stand
vacated.
 ………………………………………………………J.
 [V. GOPALA GOWDA]


 ………………………………………………………J.
 [C. NAGAPPAN]
New Delhi;
May 14, 2015
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