SC grants jurisdiction to GARC to try offences under PC

(Reuters File Photo)

A member of Assam Rifles is liable to be tried by the General Assam Rifles Court (GARC) under the Prevention of Corruption Act, the Supreme Court has ruled.

A bench of Justices L Nageswara Rao and M R Shah set aside the Gauhati High Court order which had held that only a specially designated sessions court, set up under the Act can try armed forces personnel for corruption.

"Any member of the Assam Rifles shall be liable to be tried by the GARC for committing a civil offence which means an offence which is triable by a criminal court. A 'criminal court' means a Court of ordinary criminal justice in any part of India. The only offences which are not triable by the GARC are those specified in Section 56 of the 2006 Act," the bench said recently.

"We are of the opinion that the GARC has the jurisdiction to try offences under the PC Act against the members of the Assam Rifles. Therefore, the judgment of the High Court is set aside and the appeal is allowed," it said.

The apex court was hearing an appeal filed by the Ministry of Home Affairs and others against the high court order.

Advocate Dushyant Parashar appeared for the accused in the case and supported the view of the High Court that only a Special Judge under the PC Act can try an offence under the said Act.

The high court had set aside a decision by GARC which had held that only a specially designated sessions court, set up under Prevention of Corruption Act can try armed forces personnel for corruption.

GARC had passed an order against Subedar Ranjit Kumar Saha and a Naib Subedar who were involved in the building of a road.

Both were posted at the Assam Rifles headquarters in Kamrup when the contractor building the road carried out a sting operation on them.

The footage of the sting operation was telecast by a Malayalam channel and Tehelka in September 2014, alleging corruption against them. 

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