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Specific Role Of Accused Not Required To Be Stated In Order Granting Prior Approval U/s 24(1)(a) KCOCA : Supreme Court

LIVELAW NEWS NETWORK
21 Oct 2021 2:49 PM GMT
Specific Role Of Accused Not Required To Be Stated In Order Granting Prior Approval U/s 24(1)(a) KCOCA : Supreme Court
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The Supreme Court observed that the specific role of the accused is not required to be stated in the order granting prior approval under Section 24(1)(a of the Karnataka Control of Organised Crimes Act, 2000.The prior approval is qua offence and not the offender as such, the bench of Justices AM Khanwilkar, Dinesh Maheshwari and CT Ravikumar said while setting aside the Karnataka High...

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The Supreme Court observed that the specific role of the accused is not required to be stated in the order granting prior approval under Section 24(1)(a of the Karnataka Control of Organised Crimes Act, 2000.

The prior approval is qua offence and not the offender as such, the bench of Justices AM Khanwilkar, Dinesh Maheshwari and CT Ravikumar said while setting aside the Karnataka High Court judgment that had quashed charges under Karnataka Control of Organised Crimes Act (KCOCA) against accused Mohan Nayak in the Gauri Lankesh murder case.

The court said that, at this stage, the competent authority has to focus essentially on the factum whether the information/material reveals the commission of a crime which is an organized crime committed by the organized crime syndicate. 

In this case, the Commissioner of Police, Bengaluru City passed an order according prior approval to invoke offences under Section 3 of the Karnataka Control of Organised Crimes Act, 20001 against Mohan Nayak.N. The issue before the Apex Court was whether whether this prior approval accorded by the competent authority under Section 24(1)(a) is valid? 

The court, made the following observation qua this issue:

"20....In that, whether there was discernible information about commission of an offence of organized crime by known and unknown persons as being members of the organized crime syndicate? Resultantly, what needed to be enquired into by the appropriate authority (in the present case, Commissioner of Police) is: whether the factum of commission of offence of organized crime by an organized crime syndicate can be culled out from the material placed before him for grant of prior approval? That alone is the question to be enquired into even by the Court at this stage. It is cardinal to observe that only after registration of FIR, investigation for the concerned offence would proceed — in which the details about the specific role and the identity of the persons involved in such offence can be unravelled and referred to in the chargesheet to be filed before the competent Court.". 
26. At the stage of granting prior approval under Section 24(1)(a) of the 2000 Act, therefore, the competent authority is not required to wade through the material placed by the Investigating Agency before him along with the proposal for grant of prior approval to ascertain the specific role of each accused. The competent authority has to focus essentially on the factum whether the information/material reveals the commission of a crime which is an organized crime committed by the organized crime syndicate. In that, the prior approval is qua offence and not the offender as such. As long as the incidents referred to in earlier crimes are committed by a group of persons and one common individual was involved in all the incidents, the offence under the 2000 Act can be invoked.

The court also added that the requirement of more than two chargesheets is in reference to the continuing unlawful activities of the organized crime syndicate and not qua individual member thereof. The court said:

"24. As regards offences punishable under Section 3(2), 3(3), 3(4) or 3(5), it can proceed against any person sans such previous offence registered against him, if there is material to indicate that he happens to be a member of the organized crime syndicate who had committed the offences in question and it can be established that there is material about his nexus with the accused who is a member of the organized crime syndicate"
26.The prior sanction under Section 24(2), however, may require enquiry into the specific role of the offender in the commission of organized crime, namely, he himself singly or jointly or as a member of the organized crime syndicate indulged in commission of the stated offences so as to attract the punishment provided under Section 3(1) of the 2000 Act. However, if the role of the offender is merely that of a facilitator or of an abettor as referred to in Section 3(2), 3(3), 3(4) or 3(5), the requirement of named person being involved in more than two chargesheets registered against him in the past is not relevant. Regardless of that, he can be proceeded under the 2000 Act, if the material collected by the Investigating Agency.


Case name and Citation: Kavitha Lankesh v. State of Karnataka | LL 2021 SC 578

Case no. and Date: SLP(Diary) 13309 OF 2021 | 21 October 2021

Coram: Justices AM Khanwilkar, Dinesh Maheshwari and CT Ravikumar


Click here to Read/Download Judgment



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