PC Act - Mere Acceptance Of Amount, Without Proof Of Bribe Demand, Will Not Establish Offence Under Section 7 : Supreme Court

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21 Feb 2022 12:52 PM GMT

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  • PC Act - Mere Acceptance Of Amount, Without Proof Of Bribe Demand, Will Not Establish Offence Under Section 7 : Supreme Court

    Proof Of Demand & Acceptance Of Bribe By Public Servant Is Sine Quo Non For Establishing Offence U/Section 7 Prevention Of Corruption Act: Supreme Court

    The Supreme Court observed that the proof of demand of bribe by a public servant and its acceptance by him is sine quo non for establishing the offence under Section 7 of the Prevention of Corruption Act.The failure of the prosecution to prove the demand for illegal gratification would be fatal and mere recovery of the amount from the person accused of the offence under Section 7 or 13 of the...

    The Supreme Court observed that the proof of demand of bribe by a public servant and its acceptance by him is sine quo non for establishing the offence under Section 7 of the Prevention of Corruption Act.

    The failure of the prosecution to prove the demand for illegal gratification would be fatal and mere recovery of the amount from the person accused of the offence under Section 7 or 13 of the Act would not entail his conviction thereunder, the bench comprising noted.

    In this case, the accused, who was working as a Commercial Tax Officer, was convicted under Sections 7 and 13 (1)(d) read with Section 13(2) of the PC Act. The case of prosecution was that that on 24th February 2000, she demanded a bribe of Rs.3,000/- for issuing an assessment order. The conviction was upheld by the High Court.

    In appeal, the Apex Court bench noted that there is only witness to the alleged demand and acceptance. PW1 did not state that the appellant reiterated her demand at the time of trap and that the version of PW1 in his examination-in-chief about the demand made from time to time is an improvement, the court noted. Therefore, the bench concluded that the demand made by the accused has not been conclusively proved. The bench observed:

    "The offence under Section 7 of the PC Act relating to public servants taking bribe requires a demand of illegal gratification and the acceptance thereof. The proof of demand of bribe by a public servant and its acceptance by him is sine quo non for establishing the offence under Section 7 of the PC Act."

    The bench noted the following observations made into the judgment in P. Satyanarayana Murthy v. District Inspector of Police, State of Andhra Pradesh and another, the court said:

    "The proof of demand of illegal gratification, thus, is the gravamen of the offence under Sections 7 and 13(1)(d)(i) and (ii) of the Act and in absence thereof, unmistakably the charge therefor, would fail. Mere acceptance of any amount allegedly by way of illegal gratification or recovery thereof, dehors the proof of demand, ipso facto, would thus not be sufficient to bring home the charge under these two sections of the Act. As a corollary, failure of the prosecution to prove the demand for illegal gratification would be fatal and mere recovery of the amount from the person accused of the offence under Section 7 or 13 of the Act would not entail his conviction thereunder.""

    Holding that the demand which is sine quo non for establishing the offence under Section 7 was not established, the bench allowed the appeal and acquitted the accused.

    Headnotes

    Prevention of Corruption Act, 1988 - Section 7, 13 - The proof of demand of bribe by a public servant and its acceptance by him is sine quo non for establishing the offence under Section 7 of the PC Act - The Failure of the prosecution to prove the demand for illegal gratification would be fatal and mere recovery of the amount from the person accused of the offence under Section 7 or 13 of the Act would not entail his conviction thereunder [Referred to P. Satyanarayana Murthy v. District Inspector of Police, State of Andhra Pradesh (2015) 10 SCC 152]. (Para 7)

    Case details: K. Shanthamma vs State of Telangana | CrA 261 OF 2022 | 21 Feb 2022
    Citation: 2022 LiveLaw (SC) 192
    Coram: Justices Ajay Rastogi and Abhay S. Oka
    Counsel: Sr. Adv V. Mohana for appellant, Adv Bina Madhavan for respondent



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