Principal of M/s Sarvodaya Law college, and three others, including a former Vice Chairman, Bar Council of India, will have to face trial before a special court on charges of corruption under the Prevention of Corruption Act. The Karnataka High Court, dismissed the petitions filed by three accused challenging the same.
Justice B A Patil, rejected the petitions of Principal, A M R Veeraiah, college administrator K Narasimhappa and former student of college, Ramesh Prabhu. The court while rejecting the petitions directed the special Central Bureau of Investigation court, to dispose of the matter, pending since the year 2012, within eight months.
As per the suo-moto case registered by CBI, in the year 2010 alleging that Dhanpai Rai, a practicing Advocate in Chennai and Vice Chairman, Bar Council of India. In a meeting of the Bar Council of India, held on August 22, 2010, a resolution was passed imposing a moratorium on all the inspections of centers of legal education.
On October 19, 2010, accused Rai issued an order with a malafide intention directing the secretary of the Bar Council of India, to start fixing inspection of colleges. Accordingly notices were issued to four colleges including Sarvodaya law College, informing about the inspection date. It is alleged that accused Rai along with other accused in lieu of the criminal conspiracy committed illegal acts and demanded illegal gratification from the college to give authorization of granting renewal of law course.
It is alleged that Rai was given an amount of Rs 1.50 lakh thus a CBI has registered a case under sections 120 (b) of IPC and other sections of Prevention of Corruption Act.
Principal and administrator of the college argued before the court that no complaint has been registered by anybody. CBI has suo-moto initiated the proceedings. There is no demand for gratification. Amount paid and facilities provided to accused Rai are only because of threat given by him. Thus when there is no demand, provisions of the PCR Act are not applicable.
While the former student, argued that he is not a public servant thus PCR Act cannot is not applicable. There is also no evidence to show that he is a conspirator. It is only because the accused no 1 is his friend, he accompanied him and is not a beneficiary.
The prosecution opposed the petition saying that "Scope of revision petition is limited. Order of framing charge is not purely an interlocutory order but the Apex court has held that, the power of the court to interfere in framing of charge and to grant stay is to be exercised in rarest of rare cases, only to correct a patent error of jurisdicational power."
The court observed:
"Prevention of Corruption Act is a special enactment made to have speedy and expeditious trial. Now-a-days if a case is registered under the Act, it will be protracted for a long period on one or other ground with an intention to drag proceedings. If it is encouraged witnesses will forget the proceedings after a long gap and there will be contradiction and omission and benefit will ultimately go to the accused. In that light the very purpose of section 19 (3) ( c ) of the Act is defeated. It is the duty of the courts to adhere to the law of the land and to implement its object and purpose. In that light also the present petitions are not maintainable."
As regards the argument by Principal of the college that amount was paid under duress, the court said "There was duress or threat by accused no 1, is a matter which has to be considered and appreciated only with reference to the evidence prima facie by looking into the charge sheet. It cannot be said that the amount has been paid due to duress or threat."
The bench also said that "In a case of conspiracy, there will be no direct evidence and it has to be proved by circumstantial evidence, the prosecution has to lead evidence. If evidence is required then the court is justified in framing the charge. The trial court after scrupulously scrutinizing the prosecution material has been satisfied to come to the conclusion that there is sufficient material to proceed against the accused persons. In that light i am of the considered opinion that this case is not a rarest of rare case and there is n patent error of jurisdiction."
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