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M. Nagaraju v/s P. Anand & Another

    Criminal Petition No. 5867 of 2017

    Decided On, 08 January 2018

    At, High Court of Karnataka


    For the Petitioner: H. Pavana Chandra Shetty, Advocate. For the Respondents: ----

Judgment Text

(Prayer: This Criminal Petition is filed under Section 482 of Cr.P.C, praying to quash the FIR relating to Cr.No.6/2017 pending on the file of the Court of the Prl. S.J., Mandya for the offence p/u/s 7, 13(1)(d) r/w 13(2) of P.CR Act, produced herewith as document No.1.)

1. Heard the learned counsel for the petitioner and perused the records.

2. The petitioner has sought for quashing of FIR relating to Cr.No.6/2017 restricting his prayer to Section 7 of the Prevention of Corruption Act, 1988.

3. The learned counsel for the petitioner strenuously contends that the ingredients of Section 7 has not been attracted so far as the petitioner is concerned

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who is arraigned as accused No.1 in the above said crime number. Secondly, he contends that the allegations made in the complaint or the statement of the witnesses recorded in support of the same even taken at their face value make out absolutely no case against the accused No.1, therefore the proceedings are liable to be quashed. He further submits, relying upon a decision of Apex Court between Smt. Nagawa and Veeranna Shivalingappa Konjalgi and others reported in (1976) 3 Supreme Court Cases 736 to the effect that where the allegations made in the complaint are patently absurd and inherently improbable so that no prudent person can ever reach a conclusion that there is sufficient ground for proceeding against the accused. Such proceedings can be quashed. Ofcourse, there is no dispute in so far as the principles laid down in the above case is concerned, it is just nothing but re- iteration of the principles being laid down by the Apex Court in the case of State of Haryana Vs. Bhajanlal and others reported in (1992) 1 SCC 335.

4. The learned counsel also relied upon two decisions of the Apex Court reported in (2009) 6 SCC 587 between A.Subair Vs. State of Kerala wherein the Apex Court also dealing with Section 7 of the Prevention of Corruption Act, at Para No.29, a detailed version has been given by the Apex Court stating that if the ingredients of the offences are not attracted, then the accused cannot be convicted for the offences punishable under Section 7 of the Prevention of Corruption Act, 1988.

5. Learned counsel for the petitioner also relied upon another ruling reported in (2014) 13 SCC 55 (B.Jayaraj Vs. State of Andhra Pradesh) wherein the Apex Court has observed that the demand of illegal gratification is sine qua non to constitute the said offence and mere recovery of currency notes cannot constitute the offence under Section 7 unless it is proved beyond all reasonable doubt that the accused voluntarily accepted the money knowing it to be a bribe.

6. The above said two decisions rendered by the Apex Court are on the basis of completion of trial before the Trial Court and the Court had sufficient materials to come to such a conclusion after appreciation of evidence of witnesses and the entire materials on record.

7. Now, let me come to the factual aspects of the present case. It is alleged in the complaint by the second respondent that he has produced the document for registration before the Sub-Registrar Office in which accused No.2 at that time was the in-charge Sub- Registrar by name Ramaaradhya. It is alleged that on 01.06.2017, the said Ramaaradhya was in-charge of the said office and he demanded an amount of Rs.3,000/- as bribe. As the complainant was not having the money on that day, he told the said Ramaaradhya that he would come back to the office on the next day to receive the said registered document. On 02.06.2017, he went to the office at about 1.20 p.m. and at that time, the petitioner herein was the Sub-Registrar was very much present in the office. He disclosed as to what happened on the previous date and amount demanded by Ramaaradhya, i.e., Rs.3,000/- as bribe amount. After conversation, it is stated that the accused/petitioner has demanded Rs.4,000/- on 02.06.2017 and on request of the complainant, the same has been reduced to Rs.2,500/- and thereafter, the petitioner has directed the complainant, suggested to hand over the said amount to Ramaaradhya or to one Shivu. It is also stated in the complaint that the said conversation between the parties has been recorded in a mobile phone. On these allegations, the police have registered a case under Section 7 of the Prevention of Corruption Act. The case was registered on 03.06.2017 and what are the materials collected by the police are not available to the Court.

8. Section 7 of the Prevention of Corruption Act indicates that it is not only the receipt of money but even agrees to accept to receive the money itself constitute an offence. Even the provision says that:

'Whoever, being, or expecting to be a public servant, accepts or obtains or agrees to accept or attempts to obtain from any person, for himself or for any other person, any gratification whatever, other than legal remuneration, as a motive or reward for doing or forbearing to do any official act or for showing or forbearing to show, in the exercise of his official functions, favour or dis-favour to any person or for rendering or attempting to render any service or dis-service to any person, with the Central Government or any State Government or Parliament or the Legislature of any State or with any local authority, corporation or Government company referred to in clause (c) of section 2, or with any public servant, whether named or otherwise, 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.

Therefore, even agreeing to accept the money for the purpose of doing something attracts the provisions of law. In the FIR, it is categorically stated that the previous Sub-Registrar has demanded Rs.3,000/- on 01.06.2017. This amount has been demanded by the accused for the purpose of giving the document and after conversation, the same has been reduced to Rs.2,500/-. Therefore, the allegations are that to show petitioner has agreed to receive the bribe amount which allegation attract the provision under Section 7 of the Act. Therefore, when the allegations are made, which are broadly sufficient to constitute an offence, and when the subject matter is at the threshold at the FIR stage, in my opinion, the same cannot be quashed. Moreover, the case has been registered in the month of June 2017 more than seven months have already been lapsed, what is the investigation has already been done is not known to the Court. Under the above said circumstances, I do not find any strong reason to interfere with the FIR. If the petitioner is aggrieved by any final report, without any basis against him, he can approach the competent Court for his discharge or for quashing of the charge-sheet.

With the above observations, petition stands dismissed.

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