The Session Judge, Imphal West, on Saturday discharged Ningombam Ibomcha from the offences punishable under Sections 302/34 IPC and 27 Arms Act due to absence of valid prosecution sanctions in killing of RK Sanajaoba, nephew of former chief minister RK Joychandra, in 2004.
R K Sanajaoba, nephew of former CM R K Joychandra Singh, was killed by the police in a fake encounter on October 21, 2004. It was stated that Sanajaoba was returning home on a Honda Activa when he was stopped and trashed severely with sticks by some personnel of Manipur Police headed by a lady police. One of them shot him on the chest at point blank range and as a result of which, Rajkumar Sanajaoba died at the spot. Sanajaoba picked up an argument with policemen and was shot in cold blood, the police claimed otherwise, initially even claiming they mistook him to be a militant.
Public prosecutor has stated that at the time of incident, the accused person, Ningombam Ibomcha, was serving as constable posted at Patsoi PS and a chargesheet was submitted against him in 2005. As prosecution sanction of the accused person is highly required to prosecute him in connection with the case, the Principal Secretary (Home), government of Manipur, on June 30, 2022 accorded sanction for prosecution of the accused Ningombam Ibomcha Singh. Public prosecutor also stated that on October 28, 2022 the court allowed the prosecution to file the prosecution sanction and accordingly prosecution sanctions were filed.
However, counsel of the accused pointed out that as per FIR 296(10) 2004, the date of incident is 20/10/2004 but in the report, the date of incident is shown as 20/10/2002. Counsel argued that sanctions required in FIR 296(10)2004 IPS are for the offences under Sections 302 IPC and 27 Arms Act. The sanction must be given to the particular offences and not to FIR. Counsel has also argued that the principal secretary (Home) cannot grant prosecution sanction for the offence under Section 27 Arms Act, it is the duty for the concerned District Magistrate.
The court also found that the date of occurrence is wrongly recorded. Besides, sanction is granted against the FIR, but not against the offence as mandated under Section 197 CrPC. A combined sanction order is issued under Section 197 CrPC for the offences punishable both under IPC and Arms Act. It may be noted that sanction for the offences under Arms Act is to be granted by the concerned district magistrate in exercise of power under Section 39 of Arms Act. Hence, the secretary (home) is not a competent authority to grant sanction for the offences under Arms Act. In short, the sanction order dated 29.06.2022 suffers from all defects as pointed out herein. The court stated that the sanction is not a valid one so as to initiate a criminal proceeding against a public servant.
The court took cognizance of the offence under Section 302 IPC, the trial cannot proceed in absence of valid prosecution sanction as mandated under Section 197 CrPC and Section 39 Arms Act. Accordingly, the accused is discharged from the offences punishable under Sections 302/34 IPC and 27 Arms Act as valid prosecution sanctions are not filed.
The court ordered that the accused be released, if not required for another case. The court further mentioned that the order will not affect the right of the prosecution and the state may refile the chargesheet along with valid prosecution sanction orders, if desired so.