PRELIMINARY INQUIRY IS NOT A PRE-REQUISITE IN ALL CORRUPTION CASES

The Supreme Court has in a recent of The State of Telangana vs Sri Managipet dated 6th December, 2019 held that a preliminary inquiry before registration of a First Information Report (FIR) is not required to be mandatorily conducted in all corruption cases. The Judgement was given by the Bench consisting of Justices L. Nageswara Rao and Justice Hemant Gupta, while considering an appeal against a Police Officer who was said to be in possession of assets which were disproportionate to his disclosed income. The rationale behind the decision of the Bench is that preliminary investigation is to screen completely pointless complaints and to act fairly on serious ones.

Previously in the case of Lalita Kumari vs. Government of Uttar Pradesh 2013, the Supreme Court held that that a preliminary inquiry before registering a cognizable offence is necessary. On the contrary, the Supreme Court overruled its decision given in Lalita Kumari (supra) and held that, “The scope and ambit of a preliminary investigation inquiry being necessary before lodging a FIR would depend upon facts of each case. There is no set format or manner in which a preliminary inquiry is to be conducted. The objective of the same is only to ensure that a criminal investigation process is not initiated on a frivolous and untenable complaint. Thus, if the officer recording the FIR is satisfied with such disclosure, he can proceed against the accused even without conducting any inquiry on the receipt of the information received by him.”

Thus, the Court clarified that it depends upon the facts of the case and the officer recording the complaint to decide if prior investigation is required or not. Presently in this case a prior information was available that the Police Officer was in possession of disproportionate income which was sufficient to move against the Accused for cognizable offence. The Court while overruling Lalita Kumari (supra) judgement, was of opinion that if the information received by the police officer registering the complaint is credible in nature then investigation is not mandatory to move against the accused. Therefore, any FIR registered cannot be said to be quashed solely because it was conducted without a prior investigation.

Thus, the Supreme Court herein was of view that the Order of the High Court of Telangana to quash the proceedings against the Accused Officer was not sustainable and was, therefore, set aside.

Aakritee Gambhir

Associate

The Indian Lawyer

MINISTRY OF CIVIL AVIATION INVITES TENDERS FOR AIRPORTS IN JAMMU AND KASHMIR, LADAKH AND NORTH-EASTERN STATES OF INDIA

Recently, the Ministry of Civil Aviation (Ministry) has invited tenders from airline operators for unserved and underserved airports in Jammu and Kashmir (J&K), Ladakh and North-Eastern states in India under the UDAN (Ude Desh Ka Aam Nagrik) Scheme or the Regional Connectivity Scheme (RCS) (Scheme). The said Scheme aims at connecting unserved and underserved airports to key airports through low-cost flights and also envisages to provide subsidy to airlines to offer such low-cost fares.

As per the Ministry, an unserved airport means any airport where there have been no scheduled commercial flights during the last 2 (two) flight schedules approved by the Directorate General of Civil Aviation (DGCA); whereas, an underserved airport means any airport where there are no more than 7 (seven) scheduled commercial flight departures per week as per the latest flight schedule approved by the DGCA.

Bidding process in J&K and Ladakh:

The bidding process for the following 11 unserved airports in J&K and 2 underserved airports in Ladakh region have commenced on 03-12-2019 with the objective to establish strong air connectivity and to boost the tourism sector in the region:

1- Unserved Airports available for bidding in J&K Akhnur, Chamb, Chushal, Fukche, Gurex, Jhangar, Miran Sahib, Panzgam, Poonch, Rajouri and Udhampur

2- Underserved Airports available for bidding in Ladakh – Kargil and Thoise

Bidding process in North-Eastern states:

The Ministry has recently invited bids for 24 unserved and 6 underserved airports in the North-Eastern states of India on 06-12-2019, with the objective of providing aerial connectivity to the region and boosting the tourism sector, that would transform the economic situation of the region:

1- Unserved Airports available for bidding in various states of North-East India are as follows:

i) Arunachal Pradesh – Alinya, Along, Daparizo, Mechuka, Tuting, Vijaynagar, Walong, Yinghiong, Ziro

ii) Assam –Chabua, Darrang, Dinjan, Ledo, Misa Mari, Nazira, Sadiya, Sorbhog, Sukerating (Dum Duma) 

iii) Meghalaya –Dwara, Shella, Tura

iv) Tripura –Kailashahar, Kamalpur, Khowai

2- Underserved Airports available for bidding in various states of North-East India are as follows:

a) Arunachal Pradesh –Passighat and Tezu

b) Assam – Jorhat, Rupsi, Tezpur

c) Meghalaya –Shillong

3- Water Aerodrome available for bidding in Assam – Umrangso Reservoir

The successful airline operator bidder in both J&K and Ladakh, and in North-East States of India would avail a number of incentives including levy of 2% excise duty on aviation turbine fuel (ATF), reduction of value added tax to 1% on ATF at RCS Concession Airports, provision of minimum land, if required, free of cost and free from all encumbrances for development of RCS Concession Airports, provision of free security and fire services and low-cost electricity, water and other utility services at RCS Concession Airports, no landing and parking charges, and terminal navigation landing charges at RCS Concession Airports, increased viability gap funding (VGF) or financial support provided by Government to the RCS flight operating airlines, etc, for certain period of time.  

Thus, the Ministry has aimed at operationalizing 1000 routes and more than 100 airports in the next five years including development of no-frills airports to promote and encourage low-cost airlines and airports and eliminating non-essential features in flights and at airports.

Harini Daliparthy

Senior Legal Associate

The Indian Lawyer