Mumbai, Jul 10 (PTI) The Bombay High Court today asked the Maharashtra government to review the rule that gives it up to nine months to decide on granting sanction to prosecute a public servant and make the period shorter.

The period should be shorter, observed a division bench of justices R M Savant and Sadhana Jadhav while seeking the government’s stand on a plea by social activist Ankur Patil, challenging the government’s circular which makes it compulsory for the anti-corruption bureau (ACB) to get government’s nod to prosecute `public servants.’ As the ACB cannot try officials without the sanction, several cases are pending, pointed out Patil’s plea.

Additional Public Prosecutor Prajakta Shinde said as per a 1996 government resolution (GR), a proposal seeking sanction to prosecute must be decided within six months. The period can be extended by another three months, if needed.

Shinde also pointed out a case which is pending for sanction since 2002.

“The time has come for the state government to review the policy. Otherwise all this seems like a farce,” the court said.

“By now the public servant against whom sanction was sought must have retired. The government will have to fix a shorter time-frame to decide such proposals,” the court said.

The concerned official from the home department should file an affidavit in reply to the plea in three weeks, the HC said.

This is published unedited from the PTI feed.