Offences under the Prevention of Corruption Act are Offences against Society*

In State of Gujarat vs. Bhalchandra Laxmishankar Dave [Cr. A. NO.99 OF 2021] (LL 2021 SC 58).Supreme Court observed while setting aside a Gujarat High Court judgment acquitting an accused in a corruption case that offences under the Prevention of Corruption Act are offences are against the society.

In this appeal, the accused as respondent who was working as Assistant Director in ITI, Gandhi Nagar was charged for the offences punishable u/s 7 r/w Sections 13(1) and 13(2) of the Act.

After full fledged trial and appreciation of the entire evidence on the record, trial court of Bharuch convicted the accused u/s 7 r/w sec 13(1) and 13(2) of the PCA Act and imposed the sentence of imprisonment for 5 years along with the fine of R’s 10,000/-.

The accused preferred an appeal before the HC against the impunged judgment and order of trial court. HC without any detailed re appreciation of the entire evidence in record, has acquitted the accused for the offences for which trial court convicted him.

State of Gujarat preferred an appeal to SC against the judgment of Gujarat HC where the SC ascertained that whether the HC has conformed to the principles while exercising in the criminal appeal against the judgment and order of the conviction.

SC observed that there is no appreciation of entire evidence on record in detail while acquitting the accused and HC has only made general observation on the depositions of the witnesses examined.

SC had referred one judgment, Umedbhai Jadavbhai v. State of Gujarat, (1978) 1 SCC 228, where it was observed and held that Once the appeal is entertained against the order of acquittal, the HC is entitled to reappreciate the entire evidence independently and come to its own conclusion.

SC set aside a HC judgment and remanded to consider and deal with appeal afresh in accordance with the law and it’s own merit keeping in mind the observations of Supreme Court.

HC ought to have appreciated that it was dealing with the offences under the prevention of corruption act which offences are against the society. Therefore, HC ought to have been more careful and ought to have gone in detail.

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