2014 verdict striking down provision of DSPE Act will have retrospective operation: SC

The Supreme Court on Monday ruled that its 2014 verdict, which had struck down a provision of the Delhi Special Police Establishment (DSPE) Act, 1946 which provided immunity from arrest for officers of the level of joint secretary and above, will have retrospective operation.

In its May 2014 judgement, the apex court had held as invalid section 6A(1) of the Act, which required approval of the Centre to conduct any inquiry or investigation into any offence alleged to have been committed under the Prevention of Corruption Act, where such allegation relates to employees of central government of the level of joint secretary and above.

A five-judge Constitution bench headed by Justice Sanjay Kishan Kaul delivered its verdict on the issue of whether the striking down of the provision granting immunity from arrest would have a retrospective effect in view of rights protected under Article 20 of the Constitution.

Article 20 of the Constitution provides for protection in respect of conviction for offences.

“Declaration made by the constitution bench (in May 2014) in the case of Subramanian Swamy will have retrospective operation. Section 6(A) of the DSPE Act is held to be not in force from the date of its insertion, that is September 11, 2003,” said the bench also comprising Justices Sanjiv Khanna, A S Oka, Vikram Nath and J K Maheshwari.

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