State Of Gujarat vs Ambalal Kalabhai Parmar
Bench: Honourable Justice Hemant M. Prachchhak
JUDGMENT DATED: 12/04/2023
R/CRIMINAL APPEAL NO. 1009 of 2006
In the instant case, the respondents(police officials) were charged under section 7 of the prevention of corruption act but acquitted by the trial court. Thereafter, an appeal was filed in the Gujarat High Court against the decision. As per section 7, a public servant taking gratification other than legal remuneration in respect of an official act shall be punishable with imprisonment which shall be not less than six months but which may extend to five years and shall also be liable to fine.
The Assistance Director of Anti-Corruption Bureau (“ACB” for short) had received a tip that the Police Officers of the Baroda Rural Traffic received illegal gratification amount from the drivers of the passenger vehicles. Therefore the ACB arranged a sting operation to entrap them for which a driver was roped in for assistance in the operation.
The ACB officials gave Rs. 500 to the driver(5 currency notes of Rs. 100 each) and put anthracene powder on it and told the driver to give those specific notes when he found any Police Officers demanding the money.
When the car approached the place, the police officials stopped the driver and demanded bribe. The driver acted as per instructions and paid a bribe of Rs. 200 from the specific currency notes. The police officials were caught red handed which lead to the ACB arresting them.
The accused persons refuted the charge and pleaded not guilty before the trial court. After going through oral as well as documentary evidence and after hearing the arguments advances by both the sides, the Trial Court passed an order of acquittal. It is this judgement that the appelants have appealed against in the Gujarat High Court.
The counsel for the appellants submitted that despite witnesses testifying against the police officials, the trial court overlooked the testimony and thus the impugned judgment and order of acquittal is erroneous and the same deserves to be quashed and set aside and the respondents accused be convicted for the alleged offence of illegal gratification.
The advocate for the respondents submitted that the basic ingredients of the offence i.e. demand and acceptance was not established beyond the reasonable doubt, as there was no demand at all raised by the respondent accused and therefore, the judge of the trial court had rightly considered and appreciated the evidence led by the prosecution, while passing the impugned judgment.
The Court, after considering the facts found the main witness of the prosecution had disowned from his version and not supported the case of the prosecution, with regard to the first ingredients of the demand nor had he supported the contents of the F.I.R..
The Court held that the Trial Court had not committed any error of fact and law in appreciating the evidence on record and in acquitting the accused persons from the charges levelled against them. Even on re-appreciation of the evidence, it clearly transpired that the prosecution had miserably failed to prove the charge levelled against the accused persons beyond reasonable doubt. Therefore, the impugned judgment and order of the Trial Court was sustainable and the present appeal was liable to be dismissed. In view of the evidence on record, it clearly found that the Trial Court had minutely examined the evidence and has properly appreciated the evidence on record and also not committed any error of fact and law in acquitting the accused for the charges levelled against them.
Hence, the judgement of the trial court was affirmed by the Gujarat High Court and the appeal stood dismissed.
JUDGEMENT REVIEWED BY AMIT ARAVIND
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