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Impetuous handling of evidences can cause grave miscarriage of justice: Supreme Court

The approach of the Court in dealing with evidences must be of such nature that it does not result in grave miscarriage of justice. The High Court ought to be careful and vigilant while dealing with the offences under the Prevention of Corruption Act as they are the offences against the society. This assertion was made by the Honorable Supreme Court of India by a three judge bench of J. Ashok Bhushan, J. Subhash Reddy and J. M.R. Shah in the case of State of Gujarat vs. Bhalchandra Laxmishankar Dave [CRIMINAL APPEAL NO.99 OF 2021].

In the instant case, High Court of Gujarat in a Criminal Appeal acquitted the respondent herein original accused for the offences under Section 7 r/w Sections 13(1) & 13(2) of the Prevention of Corruption Act by quashing and setting aside the judgment and order of conviction passed by the Learned Special Judge, Bharuch, Gujarat has preferred the present appeal. The respondent herein original accused who was an Assistant Director in ITI, Gandhi Nagar was charged for the offences. The Special Judge held the accused guilty and convicted the accused for the aforesaid offences and imposed the sentence of 5 years imprisonment and with fine. Feeling aggrieved with the judgment of conviction and sentence passed by the Learned Special Judge, the accused preferred appeal before the High Court.  By the impugned judgment and order, the High Court without any detailed re-appreciation of the entire evidence on record, acquitted the accused. Feeling aggrieved and dissatisfied with the impugned judgment and order of acquittal passed by the High Court, the State of Gujarat has preferred the present appeal.

The honorable Supreme Court observed, “On perusal of the impugned judgment and order of acquittal passed by the High Court, we find that High Court decision is based on totally erroneous view of law by ignoring the settled legal position. The approach of the High Court in dealing/non-dealing with the evidence was patently illegal leading to grave miscarriage of justice. Therefore, we are of the firm opinion that the impugned judgment   and   order   passed   by   the   High   Court   acquitting   the respondent – accused without adverting to the reasons given by the Learned trial Court while convicting the accused and without re-appreciating   the   entire   evidence   on   record   in   detail cannot be sustained and the same deserves to be quashed and set aside.” The court further contended, “The High Court ought to have appreciated that it was dealing with the offences under the Prevention of Corruption Act which offences are against the society. And therefore the High Court ought to have been more careful and ought to have gone in detail. In view of the above and for the reasons stated hereinabove and without expressing anything on merits of the case, the present appeal is allowed. The impugned judgment and order passed by the High Court acquitting the accused for the offences under the Act for which he was tried is hereby quashed and set aside.  The appeal before the High Court is restored to its original file.” 

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