MANOHAR SRINIVASRAO KSHIRSAGAR Vs. THE STATE OF MAHARASHTRA
HIGH COURT OF BOMBAY
Manohar Srinivasrao Kshirsagar
THE STATE OF MAHARASHTRA
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Vimadalal, J. -
(1.) This is an appeal by an accused who has been convicted and sentenced by the Special Judge, Parbhani, of offences under section 5(2) read with section 5(i) (d) of the Prevention of Corruption Act, 1947, as well as under section 161 of the Indian Penal Code.
(2.) The accused was at the material time a public servant employed in the capacity of the Talathi of Kansur village at Pathri Tahsil of Parbhani district, and the prosecution case is that he accepted a sum of Rs. 100 as a motive or reward for effecting the necessary entries in the mutation register, in which the name of Janardan and his nephew were substituted for the name of Janardan's father who was dead. According to the prosecution, a few days before the actual payment, Janardan had gone to the accused and had requested him to effect an entry in the mutation register, an application in respect of which had already been filed by him with the accused. According to the prosecution, the accused told Janardan that it was not possible for him to effect the change unless he was paid a sum of Rs. 100 and, after protesting that that amount was excessive, Janardan ultimately agreed to pay the same to him. The prosecution story is that Janardan then took a specimen of the application which had to be made by Janardan as well as his nephew, and an application which was written out according to that specimen (exh. 6) was thereafter filed by Janardan with the accused. Janardan then went and approached the anticorruption authorities and, after the usual formalities in regard to the chemical treatment to the currency notes, the police party and two panchas as well as Janardan left in a police van and got down from the van a mile away from the place of residence of the accused. It is the case of the prosecution that Janardan accompanied by the two panchas then went up to the house of the accused which was on the first floor of a building, and Janardan asked the accused whether his work was done, whereupon the accused demanded the sum of Rs. 100 and stated that the work would be done the following day. According to the prosecution, Janardan thereupon took out the currency notes which had been chemically treated and handed them over to the accused in the presence of the panchas, and then came out and gave the agreed signal, whereupon the police party arrived and all the notes were found on the person of the accused. The defence of the accused is that he accepted the amount, not as a bribe, but as money which was to be deposited by Janardan in the post office, since in those days Talathis were recovering amounts for small savings and postal deposits from people who came to them. In view of the fact that the receipt of the currency notes in question is admitted by the accused, it becomes unnecessary to discuss the evidence relating to the details of the trap in the present case. The area of dispute in the present case is very narrow and the questions which I have to consider are only two viz., (1) whether the accused accepted the said sum of Rs. 100 as a bribe for his own benefit as a motive or reward for effecting the necessary entries in the mutation register ; and, (2) if the answer to the first question is in the negative, whether the accused accepted the said sum of Rs. 100 from Janardan for being deposited in the post office as a motive or reward for effecting the necessary entries in the mutation register. In my opinion, in either of these two cases, the accused would be guilty of the offence under section 161 of the Indian Penal Code which is one of the two offences with which he has been charged. As far as the offence under the Prevention of Corruption Act is concerned, I find that the charge is defective insofar as, departing from the words of the statute itself, it is restricted to the accused having by corrupt or illegal means obtained a pecuniary advantage for himself. The words "or for any other person" which occur in section 5(i) (d) of the said Act are not to be found in the second charge in the present case. The position, therefore, is that, if the first of the two questions formulated by me above is answered in the negative, the second question will not arise at all in regard to the charge under the Prevention of Corruption Act and the accused would have to be acquitted in respect of the offence which is the subject-matter of that charge.
[His Lordship after considering the evidence of Janardan in regard to the actual payment to the accused on July 30, 1959, proceeded as follows] :
(3.) Even this evidence of Janardan is not entirely inconsistent with the version of the accused, insofar as it does not make it clear that the amount was demanded as a bribe by the accused for his own personal benefit, and does not rule out the possibility that it was demanded for a public purpose viz., to augment the deposits with post offices. I have, therefore, come to the conclusion that the prosecution has not proved that the accused had demanded the said sum of Rs. 100 as a bribe, or that it was paid to him as a bribe for his personal benefit.;
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