A judgment to this effect was pronounced by a bench comprising Chief Justice of India DY Chandrachud and justice JB Pardiwala. The bench ruled whether the sanction of a valid authority for charge sheet was required was not a question to be addressed while taking cognisance of an offence, rather, it was a question to be addressed during prosecution and such prosecution started after the cognisance of an offence is taken by the trial court.
Section 167 of the Criminal Procedure Code (CrPC) provides for default bail for an accused if the investigation against them is not completed within requisite time. The said section provides for completion of an investigation within the period prescribed.
In the instant case, it was contended that even though the charge sheet was filed within the statutory period of 180 days, it was filed without a sanction of a valid authority. It was argued that the charge sheet was incomplete.
Finding no force in the argument, the court ruled, “We find no merit in the argument that charge sheet filed without sanction is an incomplete charge sheet. Charge sheet was filed well within the time. Whether the sanction is required or not is a question to be taken during taking cognisance of an offence. Prosecution starts when cognisance of offence is taken.”
The court concluded that a charge sheet filed without a valid sanction could not be considered an incomplete charge sheet if it was filed well within the time. It ruled that this was because a valid sanction was a part of prosecution, which started after cognisance of offence was taken.