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Compelling Small Farmers To Pay Bribes The Most Unfortunate Thing To Happen Even After 75 Yrs Of Independence: Allahabad HC

Sparsh Upadhyay
16 Nov 2021 8:09 AM GMT
Compelling Small Farmers To Pay Bribes The Most Unfortunate Thing To Happen Even After 75 Yrs Of Independence: Allahabad HC
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The Allahabad High Court recently observed that when small farmers are compelled to pay bribes, it is the most unfortunate thing to happen even after 75 years of independence. The Bench of Justice Manish Kumar and Justice Rajan Roy observed thus while dismissing an appeal filed by a government servant (convicted for demanding bribe) against the order of the appellate court upholding...

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The Allahabad High Court recently observed that when small farmers are compelled to pay bribes, it is the most unfortunate thing to happen even after 75 years of independence.

The Bench of Justice Manish Kumar and Justice Rajan Roy observed thus while dismissing an appeal filed by a government servant (convicted for demanding bribe) against the order of the appellate court upholding his conviction as also sentence by the trial court.

Facts in brief

The petitioner, Rasool Ahmed was working as Lekhpal in the Revenue Department of the Government of Uttar Pradesh.

In 1992, he demanded a bribe of Rs. 300/- to measure the plot belonging to the complainant, Vedram, out of which he paid Rs. 100/- and when Ahmed insisted on the rest of the amount, the Complainant reported the matter to the Superintendent of Police, Prevention of Corruption Organization, Lucknow.

Thereafter, the appellant was arrested in trap proceedings and four treated notes of Rs.50/- each were recovered from his possession. He was tried and convicted in the year 2013 for the offence under Section 7 read with Section 13 of the Prevention of Corruption Act, 1988.

He was sentenced to undergo imprisonment of one year with a fine of Rs.2,000/-, an appeal against it was also dismissed.

Further, a government order was passed under Regulation 351 of the Civil Services Regulation as applicable in the State of Uttar Pradesh withholding the entire pension of the petitioner.

Challenging this order of the Government, he moved to the writ court claiming that Regulation 351 Civil Services Regulation applies only in the case of serious offences and he argued that only on account of conviction of the petitioner in the criminal case, without considering the seriousness of the crime, the order was passed withholding his entire pension.

He also argued that even the writ court did not take into account this fact and it did not discuss the term 'serious crime' in the light of the facts of the case in detail.

Court's observations

At the outset, noting that the State of Uttar Pradesh is largely an agrarian State and the Lekhpals have been assigned duties under the revenue laws relating to measurement etc of land, the Court observed thus:

"The court only empathizes with the humiliation and trauma which the said small farmer/ complainant must have undergone that too for claiming his rights under the law and not for any illegal act. The petitioner was a government servant who was under obligation to perform his duty but he demanded bribe for carrying out his rightful obligations. The seriousness of the offence is apparent on the face of the record"

Further, the Court noted that merely because, the concerned authority who passed the order under Regulation 351 did not discuss this aspect of the matter in detail and the writ court may also not have done so accordingly, can be no ground for allowing the appeal of the appellant against the order of the writ court.

Noting that the facts of the case speak for themselves and do not need any further elaboration, the Court remarked thus:

"Corruption is the bane of our society. One who suffers corruption alone can feel the pinch of it. As already stated, small farmers, when they are compelled to pay a bribe in the manner in which the appellant compelled the complainant, it is the most unfortunate thing to happen even after 75 years of independence."

Lastly, stressing the seriousness of the crime being self-evident and apparent, the Court dismissed the instant appeal.

Case title - Rasool Ahmad v. State Of U.P.Thru Prin.Secy. Revenue Deptt. Lucknow & Ors.

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