Bombay High Court upholds acquittal of medical officer accused of taking ₹100 bribe in 2007

Title: State of Maharashtra v. Dr Anil Shinde

Decided on: 3rd October, 2023


CORUM: Jitendra Jain, J


A government medical officer was recently acquitted of charges related to the alleged receipt of a ₹100 bribe from a patient in exchange for the issue of a medical certificate. This recent legal event has generated a lot of discussion and attention. Surprisingly, what would appear at first to be a modest money transaction, a ₹100 bribe has given rise to a number of ethical and legal concerns. When compared to the larger context extending from the years 2007 through 2023, Justice Jitendra Jain, the case’s presiding judge, asserts that the amount in question looks unexpectedly minimal.

Facts of the case

Dr. Anil Shinde, who the State of Maharashtra nominated as a medical officer in September 1995, was the subject of the case before the court. He had been sent to a small hospital in Paud, district of Pune. Laxman Pingale, the plaintiff, alleged that the doctor requested ₹100 in 2007 in order to issue a medical certificate certifying Pingale’s injuries. For the certificate, Shinde reportedly wanted a money despite treating the wounds. The Anti-Corruption Bureau (ACB) received a complaint from the patient, Pingale, and a trap was set in February 2007. A team from ACB allegedly inspected the hospital on February 20 and caught the medical professional in the act. Therefore, legal action was taken against him in accordance with the PCA, or the Prevention of Corruption Act. The special ACB court notified Shinde on June 16, 2011, that he had been accused of violating PCA Sections 7 and 13. He submitted a “not guilty” plea, and the trial got started. After the trial was over, on January 31, 2012, the special judge cleared Shinde of all charges. The State government appealed this acquittal to the High Court.

Courts analysis and Decision

The court noted that the Prevention of Corruption Act’s Section 20(3) stated that if the claimed bribe or gratification was modest, no inference of corruption could be made and the court might decline to assume that the accused is corrupt. The court further draws support from the verdict of Coordinate Bench of this Court in Hanmantappa Murtyappa Vijapure through L.R. Vs. State of Maharashtra [1], where the Court considered bribe of Rs.150/- as trivial for establishing criminal prosecution and the proper course of action could have been departmental inquiry.

The Court continued by noting that the purported satisfaction in this case was very little. Based on an evaluation of the facts, the trial court’s perspective is a reasonable one. The High Court concluded that the special judge’s ruling of acquittal did not need intervention and that the current appeal should be rejected. Justice Jain concurred with the trial court’s judgement to acquit the medical officer as a result.

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Written by- Shivanshi Singh

[1] Hanmantappa Murtyappa Vijapure through L.R. Vs. State of Maharashtra, 2004 (3) M.L.J. 410

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