New Delhi: Continuing its tough stand on corruption, the Supreme Court on Monday directed that state government would have to clear the petitions seeking prosecution against corrupt officials. In case of Uttar Pradesh, the Apex Court fixed a time period of six months within which the government will have to clear such petitions.

The direction in effect means that if the state government fails to clear such petitions, the case would be considered clear for prosecution.

The court’s direction for the Uttar Pradesh government is a clear indication for other states as well. The Apex Court gave its decision while hearing a petition filed by the Uttar Pradesh government.

In its petition, the state government had challenged the high court order in connection with the foodgrains scam. The high court had set a deadline of three months to clear any petition against government officials seeking their prosecution.

The division bench comprising Justices R V Ravindran and A K Patnaik rejected the UP government’s plea to wave off the time limit for clearing such petitions. The bench did not find any fault with fixing of time limit and rejected the argument of the counsel of UP government, K K Venugopal.

The Apex Court bench also made it clear that its judgement was not an indictment of the Uttar Pradesh government in particular.

It’s just a co-incidence that the case is related to UP, the court said.

However, the division bench stayed the direction of the high court which had waived off the necessity to seek prosecution permission in cases where prima-facie evidence was found against some officials in connection with foodgrains scam.

Serving notice to the respondent Vishwanath Chatuirvedi, the bench also stayed the high court order that had directed the state government to file the progress report on foodgrains scam investigations every two months.