Corruption charges against police constable for receiving bribe, struck down

Supreme Court: While reversing the decision laid down by the High Court with respect to the conviction of the appellant under the Prevention of Corruption Act, 1988, T.S. Thakur, CJ. and V. Gopala Gowda, J. held that there is no substantive evidence to prove demand of illegal gratification from the respondent and therefore, directed the Jail Superintendent to release the appellant.

Relying on the decisions laid down by the Hon’ble Supreme Court, in a catena of judgments including the cases of B. Jayaraj v. State of Andhra Pradesh, (2014) 13 SCC 55, A. Subair v. State of Kerala, (2009) 6 SCC 587 and State of Kerala v. C.P. Rao (2011) 6 SCC 450, noted Counsel Mr. Sidharth Luthra, appearing on behalf of the appellant contended that demand of illegal gratification by the accused is a sine qua non for constitution of an offence under the Prevention of Corruption Act and mere production of the tainted money recovered from the appellant along with positive result of phenolphthalein test, sans the proof of demand of bribe is not enough to establish the guilt of the charge made against appellant.

While agreeing upon the contention raised by the learned senior counsel, the Court held the impugned judgment and order of the High Court is not only erroneous but also suffers from error in law and therefore, liable to be set aside. [Krishan Chander v. State of Delhi, 2016 SCC OnLine SC 10  decided on January 6, 2016]

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    Section 20 of the Prevention of Corruption Act 1988, carries a statutory presumption that in cases falling under sections 7,11,or clause (a) or clause (b) of section 13, there is a presumption, that the accused person has accepted or obtained the gratification as a motive or reward as is mentioned in section 7. Any other interpretation will amount to saying that unsolicited money received will not fall under corruption.

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