Deciding the question as to whether an employee of a Public Sector Undertaking can be considered to be ‘Public servant’ under Section 197 CrPC, the bench of Dipak Misra and Shiva Kirti Singh, JJ held that the protection by way of sanction under Section 197 CrPC is not applicable to the officers of Government Companies or the public undertakings even when such public undertakings are ‘State’ within the meaning of Article 12 of the Constitution on account of deep and pervasive control of the government.
In the present case, the respondent, who was convicted for offences punishable under Section 409/467/468/471 IPC, had contended that he being an employee of the appellant Corporation was a public servant and the trial had commenced without obtaining sanction under Section 197 CrPC and hence, the trial in entirety was invalid and as a result the conviction and sentence deserved to be set aside.
The Court rejected the aforesaid contention and held that the respondents are not entitled to have the protective umbrella of Section 197 CrPC and that the Punjab & Haryana High Court had erred in setting aside the conviction and sentence on the ground that the trial is vitiated in the absence of sanction. The Court, hence, remitted the matter to the High Court. [Punjab State Warehousing Corp v. Bhushan Chander, CRIMINAL APPEAL NO. 159 OF 2016, decided on 29.06.2016]
SOURCE: SCC ONLINE