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A mere irregularity in granting sanction is not fatal to prosecution case for corruption under PC Act; SC.

Supreme Court of India

Justice Sanjiv Khanna and Justice Indu Malhotra

While upholding the conviction under PC Act, the SC holds that a defect or irregularity in investigation however serious, would have no direct bearing on the competence or procedure relating to cognizance or trial. Where the cognizance of the case has already been taken and the case has proceeded to termination, the invalidity of the precedent investigation does not vitiate the result, unless a miscarriage of justice has been caused thereby.

It was further held that with regard to the validity of the sanction. A mere error, omission or irregularity in sanction is not considered to be fatal unless it has resulted in a failure of justice or has been occasioned thereby. Section 19(1) of the Act is matter of procedure and does not go to the root of the jurisdiction and once the cognizance has been taken by the court under the Code, it cannot be said that an invalid police report is the foundation of jurisdiction of the court to take cognizance and for that matter the trial.

It was further held that the fact that the investigation in the present case was not conducted by the police officer by the rank and status of the Deputy Superintendent of Police or equal, but by Inspector Rohtash Singh (PW-5) and Inspector Shobhan Singh (PW-7) is inconsequential for the reason that while this lapse would be an irregularity and unless the irregularity has resulted in causing prejudice, the conviction will not be vitiated and bad in law. 

In the case at hand, it was held that the condition precedent to drawing such a legal presumption that the accused has demanded and was paid the bribe money has been proved and established by the incriminating material on record. Thus, the presumption under Section 20 of the Act becomes applicable for the offence committed by the appellant under Section 7 of the Act. The appellant was found in possession of the bribe money and no reasonable explanation is forthcoming that may rebut the presumption.

Dismissing the appeal, it was held by the SC { Vinod Kumar Garg v. State } that in a case involving an offence of demanding and accepting illegal gratification, depending on the circumstances of the case, it may be safe to accept the prosecution version on the basis of the oral evidence of the complainant and the official witnesses even if the trap witnesses turn hostile or are found not to be independent. When besides such evidence, there is circumstantial evidence which is consistent with the guilt of the accused and inconsistent with his innocence, there should be no difficulty in upholding the conviction. 


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