RAMASWAMI, J. -
(1.) THIS is an appeal preferred by the State against the acquittal by the learned Sessions Judge, Coimbatore in C. A. No. 69 of 1951, reversing the conviction and sentence of the Assistant Sessions Judge, Coimbatore, in SC No. 55 of 1951.
(2.) THE facts are : The respondent G. Sadagopan was the Head Clerk of the District Engineer's Office, Podanoor, South Indian Railway. On information received that this Sadagopan was a bribe -taker, investigation was started by the Special Police Establishment, Madras. It is enough for the purpose of this case that this Special Police Establishment, Madras, unearthed 3 instances against him, viz., that he accepted on 1.5.1950 at Podanur Rs. 30/ - from K. Rajgopal for transferring him from Udumalpet; accepted in January 1950 Rs. 25/ - from Swami for giving a permanent vacancy and demanded in or about November 1949 from Sri Narasimhalu at Podanur 20 per cent. of the travelling allowance bills for passing the same. On the foot that each of these accusations which constituted an offence under Section 161, I.P.C. amalgamated together made up the offence of criminal misconduct punishable under Section 5(2), Prevention of Corruption Act, this accused was tried before the learned Assistant Sessions Judge on these instances of bribe -taking, constituting an offence under Section 5(2), Prevention of Corruption Act read with Section 161, I.P.C. The learned Assistant Sessions Judge, who carefully went into the matter found that the prosecution had affirmatively and satisfactorily proved beyond doubt the accusation relating to the acceptance of a bribe of Rs. 30/ - from Rajagopal (P. W. 1) on 1.5.1950 for transferring him to Podanur and that in regard to the other two counts, held that he was not inclined to hold that the prosecution had so established the accused's guilt. Therefore, he convicted the accused for the offence proved under Section 161, I.P.C. and sentenced him to undergo rigorous imprisonment for a period of six months.
(3.) THERE was an appeal therefrom and the learned Sessions Judge, Coimbatore, did not go into the merits of the case but acquitted the accused on two short grounds, viz., that firstly Ex. P. 4 cannot be accepted as a secondary evidence of the previous sanction of the General Manager of the South Indian Railway, and now the General Manager of the Southern Railway, and secondly that when the charge was for criminal misconduct under Section 5(2), Prevention of Corruption Act and the trial Court found that two of the counts had not been satisfactorily proved and the charge of criminal misconduct failed, resultantly the accused could not be convicted on the count proved under Section 161, I.P.C. but must have been acquitted in entirety.
The State has preferred this appeal from this incomprehensible acquittal and I shall examine the sufficiency of the two grounds on which this acquittal has been rested by the learned Sessions Judge. Point 1 : - In regard to Ex. P. 4, the following facts should be borne in mind. On 27.7.1950, the General Manager, Mr. K. R. Ramanujam has passed the following order :
"South Indian Railway. Office or the General Manager, (Anti -Corruption), Tiruchirapalli, 27.7.1950 Confidential No. G/CB/PTJ/2 The Superintendent of Police, Special Police Establishment, Madras. Case against G. Sadagopan, Establishment Head Clerk, Office of the District Engineer, Podanur - Sanction order of prosecution. Your letter No. BI. 1861/50 of 12.7.1950. By virtue of the authority vested in me by the Government of India under Section 6(c), Prevention of Corruption Act, 1947 (Act 2 of 1947), I, Sri K. R. Ramanujam, the General Manager, South Indian Railway, Tiruchirapalli, applied my mind before giving sanction for initiation of the prosecution against the accused after considering all the facts and circumstances of the case and hereby sanction the initiation of criminal proceedings against G. Sadagopan, Establishment Head Clerk, Office of the District Engineer, Podanur (an employee of the South Indian Railway X X ) who is alleged to have been in the habit of receiving bribes and on 1.5.1950 to have demanded and accepted Rs. 30/ - from one K. R. Rajagopal, a gangman to transfer him from Udumalpet to Podanur and thereby committed an offence punishable under Section 5(2) read with Section 5(1) (a) of Act 2 of 1947 and Section 161, I.P.C. (Initialled) K. R. R. General Manager Copy forwarded to the G. E., TPJ for information in continuation of this letter No. G/CB/PTJ/2, dated 10.5.1950 (Initialled) K. R. R. General Manager"
The copy of the order received by the Special -Establishment of Police, Madras, got lost and there is no dispute as frankly conceded by the learned counsel for the accused, Mr. Basi Reddi, about the truth of this allegation. Therefore, the Special Police Establishment. Madras, secured the original office copy of the order and it is exhibited as P. 4. Once again, there is no dispute that this Ex. P. 4 coming from proper official custody and proved through P. W. 4, the confidential clerk attached to the Anti -Corruption section of the Manager's office, South Indian Railway, is the genuine original office copy. P. W. 4 testified that Ex. P. 4 is the order sanctioning prosecution of the accused and he was not cross -examined in the first instance and subsequently in the further cross -examination he has testified: "The sanction was given after perusing all relevant papers. I know the signature of the General Manager. He has signed (it ought to have been initialled) Ex. P. 4".
Therefore the only point for determination is whether this Ex. P. 4 can be accepted as secondary evidence. Section 65, Evidence Act deals with cases in which secondary evidence relating to documents may be given. The instant case falls under sub clause (c), viz., when the original, which is practically a copy here, has been destroyed or lost. The section proceeds to state that in cases falling under clause (c) any secondary evidence of the contents of the document is admissible. It is only in the cases falling under clause (e) or (f), with which we have now nothing to do here, a certified copy of the document, but no other kind of secondary evidence is admissible. The best kind of secondary evidence has been produced in this case, viz., paradoxically the original. In - 'Sevugan v. Raghunatha', AIR 1940 Madras 273 , Varadachariar, J., (as he then was) pointed out that where according to the official practice a book (we may add a file of papers) is maintained containing the copies of the communications sent, the book of copies thus maintained is itself an official register within the meaning of Section 35 and a public document within the meaning of Section 74, Evidence Act. The decisions of this Court in 'A. S. No. 261 of 1925 (B)' and in - 'Navaneetha Krishna Thevar v. Ramaswami Pandia', AIR 1918 Madras 889 were relied on. There is no substance therefore in the conclusion of the learned Sessions Judge that Ex. P. 4 cannot be accepted as satisfactory secondary evidence.;