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MAGA NATH v STATE - CRLA Case No. 480 of 1999  RD-RJ 3577 (25 July 2007)
IN THE HIGH COURT OF JUDICATURE FOR RAJASTHAN
Maga Nath Vs. State of Rajasthan
S.B.CRIMINAL APPEAL NO.480/1999 against the judgment dt.12.8.1999 passed by the Sessions Judge, Anti Corruption Cases, Bikaner in Sessions Case No.27/92 (86/97).
Date of Judgment: July 25, 2007
HON'BLE MR.JUSTICE DEO NARAYAN THANVI
Mr.Sanjay Mathur, for the appellant.
Mr.O.P.Rathi, Public Prosecutor.
BY THE COURT : 1. This is an appeal against the judgment of learned Sessions
Judge, Anti Corruption Cases, Bikaner, dt.12.8.1999 whereby the accused appellant Maga Nath was convicted for the offence under Section 7 of the Prevention of Corruption Act, 1988, hereinafter referred-to as "the Act" and sentenced to six months' rigorous imprisonment and to pay a fine of Rs.150/- and in default, to further undergo 15 days' R.I. He was also convicted
-2- for the offence under Section 13(2) of the Act and sentenced to one year's R.I. and a fine of Rs.500/- and in default, to further undergo one month's R.I. 2. The charge against the accused was that on 4.2.1992 when he was posted as Lower Division Clerk in the office of the
Assistant Engineer, P.H.E.D., Bikaner, a sum of Rs.140/- was recovered from him by the trap party, which he received by way of illegal gratification against the passing of T.A. & Medical bill amounting to Rs.1464/- of Ratan Singh, who was Helper in the office, as a 10% commission. After filing challan, the accused was charged under Ss.7 and 13(1)(d) read with Section 13(2) of the Act, to which he pleaded not guilty. The prosecution examined five witnesses. The statement of accused under
Section 313 CrPC was recorded. He produced Uma Ram (DW 1) in his defence. After hearing the arguments, the learned trial
Judge convicted & sentenced the accused appellant as aforesaid. 3. It has been argued by the learned counsel for the appellant that the whole proceedings of the trap are fabricated one to indulge accused with this small amount of Rs.140/- which was repaid by the subordinate Helper Ratan singh (complainant), out of Rs.170/-. According to him, this explanation was given by the accused appellant to the trapping Officer Bahadur Singh (PW 5)
-3- on the spot vide Ex.P.4. He has further argued that there was no work pending with the accused appellant who was L.D.C. and was doing the work of checking the bills and the bills were already passed, which were of travelling & medical allowance, prior to the trap. He has further submitted that in the absence of motive for getting any consideration by way of illegal gratification, the conviction cannot be sustained, especially when the complainant is a man of criminal nature and is indulged in group Union activities, which is the cause of rivalry with the accused appellant. 4. On the contrary, learned Public Prosecutor has supported the judgment of the learned trial Judge. 5. In this regard, the material evidence is of the complainant himself (PW 1). In the cross examination, he has said that his two T.A.Bills were passed on 3.2.1992, when he went in the office for taking his salary. He has also said that the salary bill was passed by the Junior Engineer but he said that his TA and
Medical Bills were not passed, whereas he has also said that his
TA Bills for Rs.264.32 was passed on the same day. It is an admitted fact that the TA Bill was passed prior to the trap and the medical bill was passed on 7.2.92. It is the statement of
Hemant Kumar Narang (PW 4), Executive Engineer, who was
Asstt. Engineer on the day of trap. When this witness was cross examined, he has said that the TA Bill was passed on 1.2.1992, the payment of which was made by Rajendra Bhadu, J.En., to
Ratan Singh on 7.2.92 and the medical bill was cleared by Maga
Nath and was sent to the Junior Accountant. When the TA Bill was passed and the medical bill was cleared, then there was no occasion for pending work with the accused appellant, especially when the bills were passed by Rajendra Bhadu, J.En. Thus, the demand of illegal gratification for any consideration on the day of trap itself is unbelievable, particularly when Hemant Kumar
Narang (PW 4) has said in the cross examination that he received many complaints of indiscipline against complainant
Ratan Singh including the complaint of taking alcohol and giving beating to Ravi Rajvanshi, J.En. This shows that the conduct of the complainant was also not of a disciplined employee. 6. Another aspect as put-forth by the accused appellant is about payment of Rs.170/- as a loan to the complainant, is also not afterthought, because the explanation of the accused appellant about this payment of Rs.170/- has ofcourse been denied by the complainant Ratan Singh but if his statement is looked into in the light of the statement given by trapping Officer
Bahadur Singh (PW 5), who has said that the accused told him on the spot that he paid Rs.170/- to Ratan Singh, which he did
-5- not return but he told it after the proceedings of trap, which he has narrated in Ex.P.4, whereas in Ex.P.4, soon after the trap, it is stated that after washing of the hands, on asking, accused
Maga Nath told that Ratan Singh came to him about the pending medical and TA bills and demanded Rs.170/-, which he paid to him. Upon search of the accused appellant, the amount of
Rs.500/- was found in his purse. This defence plea of the accused cannot be said to be afterthought, especially when it has been mentioned in the trap proceedings itself and there is no mention of it in Ex.P.4 that the accused narrated his defence plea after the proceedings, especially when both motbir witnesses are hostile. 7. Thus, the contention of the learned counsel for the accused appellant regarding absence of motive on account of non- pendency of any work with the accused appellant, passing
Authority being J.En. Rajendra Bhadu as stated by Hemant
Kumar Narang (PW 4), the defence plea of the accused appellant at the initial stage of trap and the conduct of the accused as stated by the Assistant Engineer are such factors which create heavy doubt that the accused accepted Rs.140/- from complainant Ratan Singh for consideration of any work.
-6- 8. The presumption about public servant accepting gratification other than the legal remuneration, cannot be drawn as contemplated under Section 20 of the Act, unless it is based on proved facts and there is a statutory compulsion. The facts of the present case, as discussed above, cannot be termed as such where the Court should draw presumption and in absence of it, the conviction recorded by the learned trial Judge cannot be sustained. 9. Consequently, this appeal is allowed. The judgment of the learned Special Judge, Anti Corruption Cases, Bikaner, dt.12.8.99 convicting accused for the offences u/ss.7 and 13(2) of the Act and sentencing him to six months' R.I. with a fine of
Rs.150/- and one year's R.I. with a fine of Rs.500/- respectively is set aside and he is acquitted of the charges levelled against him. The recovered amount of Rs.140/- be refunded to him. As the appellant is on bail, his bail bonds stand discharged.
(DEO NARAYAN THANVI), J.
RANKAWAT JK, PS
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