17 June 2024


Judgments

High Court of Bombay

Shafi Abdul Rahiman Kudale vs. The State Of Maharashtra

MANU/MH/1956/2023

06.06.2023

Criminal

Mere recovery of currency note from an accused without proof of demand does not establish an offence under Prevention of Corruption Act

Present is an appeal under Section 374 of Code of Criminal Procedure, 1973 (CrPC) challenging the Judgment passed by learned Special Judge. Appellant has been convicted for an offence punishable under Section 13(2) read with 13(1)(d) of the Prevention of Corruption Act, 1988 ("P.C. Act") and sentenced to suffer rigorous imprisonment for the period of one and half year and to pay fine in the sum of Rs.1250. The Appellant is further convicted for the offence punishable under Section 7 of the P.C. Act and sentenced to suffer rigorous imprisonment for the period of nine months and to pay fine in the sum of Rs.750. Substantive sentences to run concurrently.

The prosecution in the present case, has failed to prove unequivocally the demand of illegal gratification and even its acceptance. In the case of P. Satyanarayna Murthy Vs. District Inspector of Police, State of Andhra Pradesh and Anr. It was held that the proof of demand of illegal gratification is gravamen of offence under Sections 7 and 13(1)(d)(i) and (ii) of the P.C. Act and in the absence thereof mistakably the charge therefor, would fail. Mere acceptance of any amount by way of illegal gratification or recovery thereof, dehorse the proof of demand, ipso facto, would not be sufficient to prove home the charge under these sections of the Act. As a corollary, failure of the prosecution to prove the demand for illegal gratification would be fatal and mere recovery of the amount from the person accused of the offence under Sections 7 or 13 of the Act would not entail his conviction thereunder.

In catena of decisions, the Apex Court has held that mere possession of recovery of currency note from an accused without proof of demand would not establish an offence under Section 7 as well as Section 13(1)(d), 13(2) of the P.C. Act. It has been propounded that, in absence of proof of demand of any illegal gratification, the use of corrupt or illegal means or abuse of position as a public servant to obtain any valuable thing or pecuniary advantage, cannot be held to be proved. The proof of demand has been held to be an indispensable essentiality to prove the offence. The impugned judgment of conviction is set aside. Appeal allowed.

Tags : Illegal gratification Conviction Legality

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