Immunity granted to judges will not be extended to district collectors: SC

February 1st, 2009 - 2:32 pm ICT by ANI  

New Delhi, Feb. 1 (ANI): The Supreme Court has ruled that a district collector or the land acquisition officers cannot ask for protection from prosecution under IPC Section 77.
A bench of Justices R V Raveendran and J M Panchal said that the immunity granted to judges under Section 77 IPC would not be extended to district collectors to seek immunity from the criminal cases.
The apex court rejected a Rajasthan High Court order that quashed the FIR registered against the Jaipur district collector in a land acquisition case.
The Collector is neither a Judge as defined under Section 19 nor does he act judicially, when discharging any of the functions under the (Land Acquisition) Act. Therefore he is not entitled to protection under Section 77 IPC, the apex court noted.
The FIR had alleged that the Collector had some vested interests while acquiring certain private lands belonging to the Rajasthan Housing Board.
The local police had registered a case of cheating and fraud against the district collector but the High Court quashed the FIR, saying the official was entitled to the immunity granted under Section 77 IPC.
The dissatisfied landholders, Surendra Kumar Bhatia and others filed a special leave petition in the apex court against the High Court ruling.
The apex court ruled that only Judges (as defined in section 19 IPC) are entitled to the protection under Section 77 IPC and the Collector/Land Acquisition Officer acts only in his administrative capacity and does not in any manner exercise any judicial powers. (ANI)

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