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SC clears air on immunity

New Delhi, Feb. 25: The Supreme Court has ruled that legislators and officials working in the legislative department are not immune from prosecution for alleged corrupt practices and cannot therefore claim breach of privilege for prosecution.

“For the application of laws, particularly the provisions of the Lokayukta Act and the Prevention of Corruption Act, 1988, the jurisdiction of the Lokayukta or the Madhya Pradesh Special Police Establishment is for all public servants (except the Speaker and the deputy Speaker of the Madhya Pradesh Vidhan Sabha for the purposes of the Lokayukta Act).

“No privilege is available to the officials and, in any case, they cannot claim any privilege more than an ordinary citizen to whom the provisions of the said acts apply,” the apex court said.

A three-judge bench passed the ruling while quashing “breach of privilege” notices by the secretary of the Madhya Pradesh Vidhan Sabha to the state Lokayukta and its officials. They had initiated criminal proceedings against some Assembly officials for alleged irregularities in construction of a road leading to the legislative building.