Mon. Sep 21st, 2020

Charges of Illegal gratification cannot be brought in the absence of proof

2 min read

Supreme Court: Dealing
with a matter relating to illegal gratification, the 3-judge bench of H.L.
Dattu, CJI and V. Goapa Gowda and Amitava Roy, JJ held that the proof of demand
of illegal gratification is the gravamen of the offence under Sections 7 and
13(1) (d)(i)&(ii) of the Prevention of Corruption Act 1988 (Act) and in
absence thereof, unmistakably the charge therefor, would fail. It was further
said that mere acceptance of any amount allegedly by way of illegal
gratification or recovery thereof, dehors the proof of demand, ipso facto,
would thus not be sufficient to bring home the charge under these two sections
of the Act.

In the present
case it was alleged that the appellant, Assistant Director, Commissionerate of
Technical Education, Hyderabad had demanded for effecting renewal of the
recognition of his typing institute by way of illegal gratification of Rs. 500
in the year 1996. The Court took note of the fact that the prosecution was
unable to prove the charges and consequentially, the High Court had acquitted
the appellant of the charge under Section 7 of the Act and the State had
accepted the verdict and has not preferred any appeal against the same. Hence,
reiterating that suspicion, however grave, cannot take the place of proof and
that the Court must ensure that miscarriage of justice is avoided and if in the
facts and circumstances, two views are plausible, then the benefit of doubt
must be given to the accused, the Court held that it would be wholly unsafe to
sustain the conviction of the appellant under Section 13(1) (d)(i)&(ii)
read with Section 13(2) of the Act in case of absence of proof. [P.
Satyanarayana Murthy v. Dist. Inspector of Police, 2015 SCC OnLine SC 814, decided on 14.09.2015]
Source: Legal news India

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