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Him Fletcher Moulton L J In Hawkins Vs Powells Tillery Steam (2020): Showing Favour And Rendering Service For Getting A Job Done Falls Under The Ambit Of Corruption And Is A Punishable Offence

Tushar Bansode ,
  31 July 2021       Share Bookmark

Court :
Rose Avenue District Court - New Delhi
Brief :
This case successfully dealt with a corrupt public servant using his power for personal gain.
Citation :
CC No. 260/2019 CBI No.: 260/2019

Date of Judgement:
15 December 2020

Branch:
Anti Corruption Branch/CBI/ New Delhi

Bench:
Shri Pulastya Pramachala,
Special Judge CBI

Parties:
Prosecution – Central Bureau of Investigation
Accused/Defendant – Raj Kumar

Subject

The following judgement deals with a corruption case on a public servant accused of demanding and accepting a bribe.

Issues

  • Whether the accused is guilty of criminal misconduct in his capacity as a public servant?

Overview

  • Ved Pal Singh (complainant) had approached CBI on 24.08.2015 alleging demand of bribe by Raj Kumar(accused) who was a peon in the regional office of Kendriya Vidyalaya Sangthan based in New Delhi.
  • The complainant had sought the transfer of his son to a different Central School. This request was denied by the Assistant Commissioner thereby asking him to try next year. Thereafter, the complainant was approached by the peon (accused) outside the office, offering to help him.
  • The accused unequivocally demanded 12,000 Rs as a bribe from the complainant, in order to procure the signature of the Assistant Commissioner on the transfer application of his son. He also added that if he does not pay, the transfer is not possible.
  • After some negotiation, they settled for 9,000 Rs. However, the complainant, who had no intention to pay in the first place, approached CBI for help.
  • Insp. S.P.Singh (officer in charge) followed due procedure and was able to apprehend the accused.
  • Not only this, but they were able to catch the accused red-handed, i.e. while accepting the bribe. CBI did this with the help of a trap team (TLO) by keeping surveillance on their meeting, in order to catch him in the act of demanding and accepting the bribe with proper evidence.
  • For evidence, they used DVR (recording device) and phenolphthalein powder on the currency notes to incriminate the accused. They also arranged independent witnesses to testify against the accused.
  • In order to prosecute the accused, a sanction was obtained from the Deputy Commissioner of Kendriya Vidyalaya. Subsequently, a chargesheet was filed and the Court took cognizance of the offences and summoned the accused.

Legal Provisions

Raj Kumar was accused under the following sections of the Prevention of Corruption Act,1988

  • Section 7 - Public servant taking gratification other than legal remuneration in respect of an official act. Punishment extends upto 5 years.
  • Section 13(2) read with Section 13(1)(d) – Criminal misconduct by a public servant. Punishment under this extends upto 7 years.

Analysis of the Judgement

  • Complainant as a Prosecution Witness (PW-10) narrated his side of the case. He also identified all the relevant signatures on marked evidence.
  • The accused pleaded innocence and while giving his statement under Section 313 of the CrPC, he also contended that he was falsely implicated in this case due to enmity. He also asserted that he was posted elsewhere and not with the concerned Assistant Commissioner. Hence, there is no probability for him to even fulfil his alleged promise.
  • The Learned Public Prosecutor for CBI presented a total of 13 Prosecution Witnesses(PW) that supported his case. He also presented the recordings of the conversation between the accused and complainant. He also relied upon the judgement in the case of M. Narsinga Rao V. Supreme Court [2001 CRI. L. J.515].
  • The learned counsel for the accused claimed that there is no evidence of the demand for bribe. He also questioned the credibility of testimonies of PW7 & PW10 on account that they were too far away to listen to the conversation. He further maintained that DVR recording is devoid of any worth of corroborative value. For his defence, he cited the case adjudicated by Bombay HC in Jitendra Kumar Jain V. CBI &Anr. [Crl. (A) 1146/2012].
  • As a refresher for corruption laws, the Court also reiterated the ingredients of the offence in question. They made sure that all the conditions are satisfied to constitute the said offence. The Court also attested to the credibility of DVR recordings since the proper procedure was followed diligently without any outside manipulation. This was corroborated by the Central Forensic Science Laboratory (CFSL).
  • In its judgement, Court held that the prosecution has without any doubt successfully proved the guilt of the accused. The assurance given by the accused was in the form of showing favour and rendering service to the complainant by taking of his transfer application and for getting that job done.
  • Accordingly, the accused was held guilty for offences punishable under Section 7 & 13 (2) read with Section 13 (1) (d) of Prevention of Corruption Act, 1988 (Before its amendment in 2018) and was convicted accordingly.

Conclusion

In conclusion, this case successfully dealt with a corrupt public servant using his power for personal gain. Corruption is a social evil and the aforementioned Act is in furtherance of eradicating it from our society. Its main aim is to prevent instances of bribery and corruption amongst government officers to ensure that the principles of integrity and transparency are upheld.

Corruption has always been a major problem that not only adversely affects the country's economy but also damages the morale of the citizens in pursuing the ideals of justice.

Click here to download the original copy of the judgement

 
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