Case BriefsSupreme Court

Supreme Court: A bench comprising of A.M. Sapre and Indu Malhotra, JJ. allowed an appeal filed against the judgment of Delhi High Court wherein it upheld the order of the trial court convicting the appellant under Sections 7,13(2) read with 13(1)(d) of the Prevention of Corruption Act, 1988.

The appellant was an employee of the Delhi Electricity Supply Undertaking, working on the post of Inspector at the time relevant. An FIR was filed against him and one Rajinder Kumar, another employee of DESU, wherein it was alleged that the appellant had demanded Rs 4000 for installation of electricity connection in complainant’s factory. On the basis of FIR, the CBI formed a raiding party and the whole procedure was followed. On the scene, the appellant asked the complainant to hand over the money to Rajinder Kumar. As soon as Rajinder Kumar accepted the money, the raiding party came in and the accused were caught. The trial court convicted the appellant as aforestated. However, Rajinder Kumar was acquitted from all the charges. It is pertinent to note that both the accused were acquitted of the charge under Section 120-B IPC (criminal conspiracy). The appellant filed an appeal to the High Court which was dismissed.

The Supreme Court, sitting in appeal, perused the record and noted that the case of the prosecution was that the appellant conspired with Rajinder Kumar to accept illegal gratification from the complainant. The Court was of the opinion that once Rajinder Kumar and the appellant stood acquitted of the charge of conspiracy and further, Rajinder Kumar was acquitted of the charges under PC Act, the charged against the appellant must also fall on the ground. Furthermore, in order to prove its case against the appellant, it was necessary for the prosecution to prove twin requirements of demand and acceptance of the bribe amount by the appellant. It was the case of the prosecution that the money was accepted by Rajinder Kumar and since the accused were acquitted of the charge of conspiracy, it could not be said that Rajinder Kumar accepted the money as illegal gratification for it on behalf of the appellant. In such circumstances, there was no evidence to prove that the appellant accepted the money from the complainant. Resultantly, the Court held that the judgment impugned requires interference which was accordingly set aside. The appeal was. allowed and the appellant was acquitted of all the charges. [Dashrath Singh Chauhan v. CBI, 2018 SCC OnLine SC 1841, decided on 09-10-2018]

Case BriefsHigh Courts

Bombay High Court: A Single Judge Bench comprising of Manish Pitale, J. allowed a criminal appeal setting aside the order of conviction and sentence under Sections 7, 13(1)(d) read with 13(2) of Prevention of Corruption Act 1988, passed by the trial court against the appellant.

The appellant, who worked as a ‘Talathi’ of the village, was alleged to have taken bribe from the complainant for providing copies of mutation and heir certificates. Aggrieved by the demand of Rs. 200 as illegal gratification by the appellant for providing the above-mentioned documents, the complainant approached the Anti Corruption Bureau. A trap was laid for catching the appellant red-handed while taking the bribe. It was alleged that the complainant went to appellant’s house, where he put Rs. 200 in a newspaper given by the appellant and placed it on the table, wherefrom it was taken by the wife of the appellant. Thereafter, on complainant’s signal the personal of ACB arrested the appellant after conducting the codal procedure. While giving benefit of doubt to his wife, the trial court tried and convicted the appellant under the abovesaid sections. Aggrieved by the same, the appellant preferred the instant appeal.

The High Court perused the record and noted, inter alia, that the factum of ‘demand’ of bribe was not proved against the appellant. Referring to decisions of the Apex Court, the High Court observed that making of ‘demand’ of bribe is essential to establish culpability of the person accused of taking bribe. However, in the instant case, the Court noted that it was only the complainant who stated that he went to the house of the complainant, told him he had come prepared, showed him the bribe money and put it in the newspaper. The High Court was of the view that such evidence could not be said to have established the demand of bribe or illegal gratification by the accused-appellant. The High Court held that in absence of proof of demand, which is a sine qua non for conviction under the provisions of the Act mentioned hereinabove, the appellant could not have been pronounced guilty of taking bribe. Accordingly, the High Court allowed the appeal and set aside the impugned order passed by the trial court. [Sukhdeo Lakshman Parale v. State of Maharashtra, 2018 SCC OnLine Bom 1194, dated 12-6-2018]