Section 13(1)(d)(ii) of the Prevention of Corruption Act, 1988 contains some mandatory ingredients, which as per Court, prosecution has to satisfy beyond reasonable doubts
Criminal Appeal No. 131 of 2007
Bench: Justice A. K. Sikri; Justice Prafulla C. Pant
Case Brief: In the facts of the case, there were four persons which were booked under the FIR registered under Section 13(2) read with section 13(1)(d) of the Prevention of Corruption Act, 1988 and Section 409 read with Section 34 of the Indian Penal Code, 1860. However, when the charge- sheet was filed, one another person was also charged as an accused. Then, the matter was considered by the Trial Court and decided the acquittal of the Accused no. 2 and 3 from all the charges against them, however, the Accused no. 1, 4 and 5 were convicted under Section 13(2) read with section 13(1)(d) of the Act, but were acquitted of charges under other provisions of the Code. Against the acquittal no appeal was preferred by the State, however, the convicted accused persons challenged their conviction before the High Court. Notably, during the pendency of the appeals, Accused no. 1 and 4 were died and thus only accused (no. 5) being appellant’s appeal was dismissed by the High Court. That accused- appellant is in appeal here.
The bench observed that the prosecution alleged that the appellant here has abused his official position for obtaining pecuniary advantage. Moreover, prosecution also levelled the allegations against the appellant that while working as the Assistant Engineer, he issued Letter in respect of the contract that was awarded to Accused no. 3 and on the basis of that letter, payment to the extent of 50% of the contract value was received by Accused no. 3. Also prosecution termed the certificate as false one, as per the inspection report, as such bench found that the case of prosecution is largely based on such report. Bench also observed that the accused no. 3 was given the payment of certain amount earlier to the issuance of Letter and this was not challenged by anyone. Also, bench infers the fact that the work was started by Accused no. 3 as per Panchayat and as it was started earlier, the Panchayat was empowered to release advance to the extent of 50% of the estimated cost. As such, as per bench, the Panchayat would have issued further payment even without Letter. Thus, the bench found there was no connection between release of payment to Accused no. 3 and letter. Moreover, bench also found that the prosecution was to prove the ingredients of Section 13 (1)(d)(ii) like ‘the public servant has abused his position; and by abusing that position, he has obtained any valuable thing or pecuniary advantage for him or for other person.’ However, prosecution by attempting to cover the case under said provision, failed, as per bench. The bench as such decided that the prosecution has miserably failed to prove the charge beyond reasonable doubt and as such appeal is allowed setting aside the conviction of the appellant.
Read the Judgement: A. Sivaprakash Vs. State of Kerala