MOHAMED DASTAGIR Vs. THE STATE OF MADRAS
SUPREME COURT OF INDIA
The State Of Madras
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Imam, J. -
(1.)THIS is an appeal on a certificate granted by the High Court of Madras.
(2.)THE appellant was tried by the Special Judge of Tiruchirappalli under s. 165A of the Indian Penal Code for attempting to bribe Mr. Kaliyappan, Deputy Superintendent of Police of Ramanathapuram. The Special Judge came to the conclusion that the charge framed against the accused had not been established. He, accordingly, acquitted the appellant. Against the order of acquittal the State of Madras appealed to the High Court of Madras under s. 417 of the Code of Criminal Procedure. The High Court came to the conclusion that the evidence established that the appellant had attempted to bribe the aforesaid Deputy Superintendent of Police. It accordingly convicted the appellant under s. 165A, Indian Penal Code and sentenced him to 6 month's rigorous imprisonment and a fine of Rs. 1,000, in default, to undergo further rigorous imprisonment for 6 months.
According to the prosecution case, the appellant attempted to bribe Mr. Kaliyappan, the Deputy Superintendent of Police, by offering him a sum of money contained in an envelope at his bungalow in the morning of June 14, 1954. In order to appreciate the circumstances in which the bribe was offered, reference to certain events which led to the incident on June 14 at the bungalow of the Deputy Superintendent of Police becomes necessary. In village Irwadi there are two factions one headed by the appellant and his brother and the other headed by the village munsif. On June 3, 1954, two complaints reached the Keelakarai Police Station, one by the appellant against the village munsif and the other by the village munsif against the appellant. According to the appellant on June 3, 1954 after prayers in the mosque the village munsif had abused him and had attempted to murder him with a knife. Some persons intervened but he managed to escape but was chased by the village munsif to his house. The version of the village munsif was that he was busy that day preparing the receipt for the release of the appellant's impounded cattle when the latter abused him, beat him with his shoe and kicked him in the stomach causing minor injuries. On June 5, 1954, the appellant met Mr. Kaliyappan at the Central Bus -stand at Madurai and handed over to him a petition, Ext. P -1 in which he complained against the village munsif. Mr. Kaliyappan made an endorsement on this petition directing the Inspector of Ramanathapuram Circle to send for both the parties and warn them against doing acts which would create a breach of the peace in the village and that this petition was not to be sent to the Sub -Inspector (P.W. 8) as it was alleged that he was siding against the appellant. On June 12, 1954, Mr. Kaliyappan sent a memo (Ext. P -2) to the Inspector of Ramanathapuram Circle directing him to take steps to see that peace was preserved in the village. This Police Officer was also asked to take action against the offenders with respect to whom there was evidence in connection with the occurrence of June 3, 1954. Mr. Kaliyappan also, in view of the situation, had directed this Police Officer to see whether steps should not be taken to seize the revolver of the appellant's brother Rashid for which he had a licence. The Inspector of Ramanathapuram Circle thereafter prepared a detailed report (Ext. P -7) of the result of his enquiry and handed it over to Mr. Kaliyappan on June 13, 1954. On the night of June 13, 1954, at about 10 p.m. the appellant went to the bungalow of Mr. Kaliyappan, the Deputy Superintendent of Police, at Ramanathapuram and complained against the Inspector of Police of Ramanathapuram Circle and the Sub -Inspector requesting the Deputy Superintendent of Police to look into the matter personally and not to leave the investigation exclusively in the hands of the Inspector. Mr. Kaliyappan told the appellant that he knew nothing about the case and could not say or do anything off hand and that the appellant should see him about a week later by which time he would have perused the record and would be in a position to look into his grievances. According to the appellant, however, the Deputy Superintendent of Police had asked him to come to him next morning.
(3.)ON June 14, 1954, according to the prosecution, the appellant went to Mr. Kaliyappan's bungalow at about 7 -15 a.m. who was at that time looking into certain papers. He was informed that a visitor had come to see him. The appellant accordingly entered his office room when he again complained to the Deputy Superintendent of Police against the village munsif. At the same time he presented to this Police Officer a closed envelope. Mr. Kaliyappan thought that the envelope contained a petition but on opening it he found that it contained currency notes. He was annoyed at the conduct of the appellant. He threw the envelope at the appellant's face, but the envelope fell down on the floor and the appellant picked it up. The Deputy Superintendent of Police called his office orderly but as there was no response he went out of the office room and told his milk -maid to get the camp clerk. By that time the orderly turned up. The appellant had in the meantime remained in the office room and on the appearance of the orderly Mr. Kaliyappan asked the appellant to produce the envelope which he had thrown down and which the appellant had picked up. The appellant after taking out of his pocket some currency notes placed them on the table without the envelope. Subsequently, during the police investigation, torn bits of paper were collected from near the office window and it is alleged that those torn bits of paper were the pieces of the envelope in which the currency notes were presented to Mr. Kaliyappan. Thereafter, Mr. Kaliyappan asked his orderly to put office rubber stamp date seal on the notes and the same was done. By that time the camp clerk, P.W. 2 had arrived. Mr. Kaliyappan asked the camp clerk to note down the numbers of the currency notes which he did. The list so prepared is Ext. P -4. Mr. Kaliappan then dictated the memo. Ext. P -5 to the local Sub -Magistrate informing the latter that the appellant had offered him Rs. 500 in currency notes requesting him to "drop action" registered against the appellant at Keelakarai Police Station. Mr. Kaliyappan informed the Magistrate in this connection that he had seized the currency notes and his office rubber stamp seal had been placed on them and that he would be grateful to the Magistrate if he would come to his office and record the statement of the appellant whom he had detained in his office.
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