Providing interim relief to former chief executive officer of the Slum Rehabilitation Authority (SRA) and former Mumbai suburban collector, Vishwas Patil, the Bombay High Court Wednesday directed the Anti-Corruption Bureau not to file an FIR against him till further orders in the matter. On July 27, a special court had directed the ACB to register an FIR against Patil, his wife Chandrasena, and developers, Ramji Harakhchand Shah and Rasesh Babubhai Kanakia. The orders were passed on a private complaint alleging that Patil and others had conspired to hand over a large government area as free sale plot to developers for a luxury project.
Senior counsel Amit Desai, appearing for Patil, argued that under law, prior sanction is required before a court can order probe against a person who is or was a public servant for an act done especially in discharge of his duties.
Justice R M Savant said: “At the very threshold, sanction requires to be taken. That is the mandate of law.”
Appearing for the complainant, advocate Aditya Pratap Singh said: “He (Patil) was conspiring with developers to give less land to the slum dwellers. Such an act cannot be said to come within discharge of duty of a public servant and does not, therefore, require sanction under law.”
The court, while pointing out that they would have to stay proceedings against Patil and hear the matter at length, said: “Arguments have been forwarded that the complaint can be entertained without sanction, which has been challenged in the petition. We will have to hear the case based on this point as also other grounds of tenability of the complaint which has been questioned in the petition.”
The matter has been kept for further hearing on September 8.