17 June 2024


Judgments

Supreme Court

P. Sarangapani (Dead) through L.R. Paka Saroja Vs. State of Andhra Pradesh

MANU/SC/1036/2023

21.09.2023

Criminal

Once any gratification other than legal remuneration is proved to have been accepted by Accused, Court is entitled to raise the presumption under Section 20 of PC Act, 1988

The instant Appeal is directed against the judgment and order passed by the High Court, whereby the High Court had dismissed the Appeal filed by the Appellant-Accused No. 1 and confirmed the judgment passed by the Trial Court. The Trial Court had convicted the Appellant Accused No. 1 for the offences under Section 7 and Section 13(1)(d) read with 13(2) of the Prevention of Corruption Act, 1988 (the PC Act).

It is well settled proposition of law that, the death of the complainant or non-availability of the complainant at the time of trial could be said to be fatal to the case of prosecution, nor could it be said to be a ground to acquit the Accused. It is always open for the prosecution to prove the contents of the complaint and other facts in issue by leading other oral or documentary evidence, in case of death of or non- availability of the complainant.

In the instant case, the Appellant/Accused in his explanation under Section 313 of Code of Criminal Procedure, 1973 (CrPC) had accepted the receipt of alleged amount. The court therefore was required to appreciate the evidence laid by the prosecution in the light of the said explanation and to consider as to whether the said amount was an illegal gratification other than the legal remuneration or not. If the Accused offers reasonable and probable explanation based on the evidence that the money was accepted by him other than as illegal gratification, the benefit of doubt should be granted to the Accused.

Once the undue advantage i.e., any gratification whatever, other than the legal remuneration is proved to have been accepted by the Accused, the Court is entitled to raise the presumption under Section 20 that he accepted the undue advantage as a motive or reward under Section 7 for performing or to cause performance of a public duty improperly or dishonestly. No doubt, such presumption is rebuttable.

In the instant case the pre-trap and post-trap proceedings were duly proved by the prosecution by examining the concerned witnesses, who had duly supported the case of prosecution. Both the courts below have recorded the findings that the prosecution had proved beyond reasonable doubt the conscious acceptance of the tainted currency by the Accused and also the recovery of tainted currency from the Appellant. Therefore, the burden had shifted on the Appellant to dispel the statutory presumption under Section 20 of the said Act, and prove that it was not accepted as a motive or reward for the performance of his public duty, which the Appellant had failed to dispel.

Both the courts have appreciated the evidence on record threadbare in the right perspective and have found the Appellant guilty for the offence under Section 7 and Section 13(1)(d) read with 13(2) of the PC Act. There is no valid ground to interfere with the well considered findings recorded by both the courts below. Appeal dismissed.

Tags : Conviction Evidence Credibility

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