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STATE OF HARYANA. versus SURAJ MAL

High Court of Punjab and Haryana, Chandigarh

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State of Haryana. v. Suraj Mal - CRM-697-MA-2006 [2007] RD-P&H 870 (25 January 2007)

IN THE HIGH COURT OF PUNJAB AND HARYANA AT CHANDIGARH.

Criminal Misc. No.73801 of 2006 &

Criminal Misc. No.697-MA of 2006

Date of decision: 29.01.2007

State of Haryana.

-----Appellant.

Vs.

Suraj Mal

-----Respondent

CORAM:- HON'BLE MR JUSTICE ADARSH KUMAR GOEL
HON'BLE MR JUSTICE H.S. BHALLA

Present: Mr. J.S. Toor, Addl. A.G., Haryana.

for the appellant.

-----

Adarsh Kumar Goel, J.

Delay condoned.

Heard on merits.

This petition has been filed, for leave to appeal, to challenge the acquittal of the respondent of the charges under Sections 7 and 13(1)(d) of the Prevention of Corruption Act, 1988.

Case of the prosecution is that Fakruddin purchased a plot from Samin. The Registration Clerk in Puhana Tehsil raised an objection that `No Dues Certificate' was required before registration of the sale deed. Fakruddin met Suraj Mal, Clerk, who demanded Rs.300/- for issuance of `No Due Certificate'.

The complainant, on 21.11.2001, filed a complaint before Ravinder Kumar, DSP, Vigilance Bureau, Gurgaon. A raiding party was prepared and Shri Rajiv Ranjan, IAS, SDM Ferozepur Zhirka was asked to join the investigation. The complainant gave three currency notes of Rs.300/- to the Investigating Officer, which were initialled by the SDM and Investigating Officer. The same were returned to the Criminal Misc. No.697-MA of 2006

complainant after applying phenolphthalein powder. ASI Virender Singh was asked to act as a shadow witness. The complainant and the raiding party went to the Tehsil office. The complainant handed over the amount to the accused, who put the same in the drawer of his table. The shadow witness, the Investigating Officer and the SDM entered the room and effected recovery. Hands of the complainant were got washed in the solution of water of sodium carbonate. The colour of the solution turned pinkish. Completing necessary steps for investigation, the accused was challaned.

Prosecution examined Kailash Chander, Inspector as PW-1, Sant Ram, Naib Tehsildar as PW-2, Surender Kumar, MHC as PW-3, Daya Nand, Account as PW-4, Naresh Kumar, Draftsman as PW-5, Fakruddin, complainant as PW-6, Rajeev Ranjan, IAS, Additional Deputy Commissioner, Sonepat as PW-7, Virender Singh, ASI as PW-8, Abhey Singh, DSP as PW-9 and Ravinder Kumar, DSP as PW-10.

After considering the evidence on record, the trial Court held that the case of the prosecution was not proved beyond reasonable doubt, for the following reasons:-

(i) Complainant, Fakruddin, PW-6 turned hostile and denied filing of complaint or demand of bribe.

(ii) There are contradictions in the statements of PW-7 Rajiv Ranjan, SDM, PW-8 Virender Singh, ASI and PW-10 Ravinder Kumar, DSP, regarding time of raid, stay at the place of occurrence and their mode of travel.

(iii) In view of judgment of the Hon'ble Supreme Court in Subhash Parbat Sonvane v. State of Gujarat AIR 2003 SC 2169, payment of amount, as bribe, was not proved.

We have heard learned counsel for the State and perused the findings recorded by the trial Court.

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Criminal Misc. No.697-MA of 2006

Learned counsel for the State submitted that in view recovery having been effected, demand and acceptance of bribe, could be inferred.

We are unable to accept the submissions. Though in a given case, inference of demand and acceptance may be drawn from possession of currency notes by the accused and other circumstances and an accused may be convicted by raising a presumption under Section 20 as held by the Hon'ble Supreme Court in Raghubir Singh v. State of Haryana (1974) 4 Supreme Court Cases 560, which judgment was followed in the State of Andhra Pradesh v. R.

Givrattanam, (2004) 6 Supreme Court Cases 488, in the present case, apart from complainant himself having not been examined. The evidence of prosecution witness has not been found to be consistent. Even if two views are possible, on appreciation of evidence, acquittal of respondent is not liable to be interfered.

Scope of appeal against acquittal has been gone into by the Hon'ble Supreme Court, inter-alia, in Jaswant Singh v. State of Haryana, AIR 2000 SC 1833, wherein it was observed:-

"21. The principle to be followed by appellate courts considering an appeal against an order of acquittal is to interfere only when there are compelling and substantial reasons for doing so. If the order is clearly unreasonable it is a compelling reason for interference (see Shivaji Sahabrao Bobade v. State of Maharashtra, (1973 2 SCC 793: AIR 1973 SC 2622: (1973 Cri LJ 1783)). The principle was elucidated in Ramesh Babulal Doshi v. State of Gujarat, (1996) 9 SCC 225: 1996 AIR SCW 2438: AIR 1996 SC 2035 (1996 Cri LJ 2867):

"While sitting in judgment over an acquittal the appellate court is first required to seek an answer to the question whether the findings of the trial court are palpably wrong, manifestly erroneous or demonstrably unsustainable. If the appellate court answers the above question in the negative the order of acquittal is not to be disturbed. Conversely, if the appellate court holds, for reasons to be recorded, that the order of acquittal cannot at all be sustained in view of any of the above infirmities it can then and then only reappraise the evidence to arrive at its own conclusions." Pag

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Criminal Misc. No.697-MA of 2006

In view of above, we do not find any ground to grant leave to appeal.

The petition is dismissed.

( ADARSH KUMAR GOEL )

JUDGE

January 29, 2007 ( H.S. BHALLA )

ashwani JUDGE

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Copyright

Reproduced in accordance with s52(q) of the Copyright Act 1957 (India) from judis.nic.in, indiacode.nic.in and other Indian High Court Websites

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