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M.P. Special Police Establishment v. State of M.P. AIR 2005 SC 325


  • Is granting sanction for prosecuting the Ministers a function which could be exercised by the Governor “at his discretion” within the meaning of these words as used in Article 163 of the Constitution of India?


  • The Governor cannot act at his discretion there would be a complete breakdown of the rule of law since it would then be open for Governments to refuse sanction despite overwhelming material showing that a prima facie case is made out.
  • It would then lead to a situation where people in power may break the law with impunity safe in the knowledge that they will not be prosecuted as the requisite sanction will not be granted.


  • Respondents, Rajender Kumar Singh, and Bisahu Ram Yadav were Ministers in the Government of Madhya Pradesh. A Complaint was made to the Lokayukta against them for having released 7.5 acres of land illegally to its earlier owners even though the same had been acquired by the Indore Development Authority.
  • After investigation, the Lokayukta submitted a report holding that there were sufficient grounds for prosecuting the two Ministers under Section 13(1)(d) read with Section 13(2) of the Prevention of Corruption Act, 1983, and also for the offenses of criminal conspiracy punishable under Section 120-B of the Indian Penal Code. It must be mentioned that by the time the report was given the two Ministers had already resigned.
  • The sanction was applied by the Council of Ministers to prosecute the two Ministers. The Council of Ministers held that there was not an iota of material available against both the Ministers from which it could be inferred that they had entered into a criminal conspiracy with anyone.
  • The Council of Ministers thus refused sanction on the ground that no prima facie case had been made out against them.
  • The Governor then considered a grant of sanction keeping in view the decision of the Council of Ministers. The Governor opined that the available documents and the evidence were enough to show that a prima facie case for the prosecution had been made out. The Governor accordingly granted sanction for prosecution under Section 197 of the Criminal Procedure Code.


  • The Supreme Court held that the doctrine of necessity has no application to the facts of this case. Certainly, the Council of Ministers has to first consider the grant of sanction. It was also presumed that a high authority like the Council of Ministers would normally act in a bonafide manner, fairly, honestly, and by the law.
  • However, on those rare occasions where on facts the bias becomes apparent and/or the decision of the Council of Ministers is shown to be irrational and based on non-consideration of relevant factors, the Governor would be right, on the facts of that case, to act in his discretion and grant sanction. Given this matter, appeals are allowed. The decisions of the Single Judge and Division Bench cannot be upheld and were accordingly set aside.
  • The Writ Petitions filed by the two Ministers were also dismissed.