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S.P. CBI Anti Corruption Vs. Tej Krishan Koul - (High Court of Jammu and Kashmir) (09 Jan 2018)

Appellate Court cannot interfere with order of acquittal if the view taken by Trial Court is reasonable and findings recorded by it are not manifestly erroneous or contrary to the evidence on record



The Superintendent of Police, Central Bureau of Investigation, Anti-Corruption Bureau, Jammu, has filed this appeal against the judgment of acquittal passed by the learned Special Judge, Anti Corruption, Jammu, whereby the Respondent/accused has been acquitted of the charges levelled against him by the prosecution. The Appellant seeks the reversal of the judgment by convicting the Respondent/accused for the offences with which he has been charged. The core issue that arises for consideration in present appeal is whether, while recording the judgment of conviction and sentence, the prosecution evidence has been appreciated and scanned in the right perspective.

It needs to be understood at the first blush that, it is well settled in law that, the Court while hearing an acquittal appeal has the powers to re-appreciate the evidence. However, the Court cannot interfere with the order of acquittal, if the view taken by the trial Court is a reasonable one deduced from the evidence on record and the findings recorded by the trial Court are not manifestly erroneous, contrary to the evidence on record or perverse. This position of law has been enunciated by the Supreme Court in the cases of Ram Swaroop and ors. v. State of Rajasthan, Vijay Kumar v. State and Upindra Pradhan v. State of Orissa.

The basic and necessary ingredients of the offences within the fold of which the case of the accused has been wrapped, the prosecution has to establish that there was a demand from the accused for the payment of bribe; the accused accepted it and it was recovered from the possession of the accused. All these three ingredients have to be established by the prosecution and the mere recovery of money from the accused cannot and shall not mean that the accused has demanded and accepted the bribe.

The prosecution has to establish the factum of the demand and acceptance of illegal gratification on the part of the accused by substantive evidence. The statement of PW-1 (who is the complainant in the instant case) being the bribe-giver requires to be scanned with utmost caution and corroboration thereof has to be insisted upon. The position of a bribe-giver who consciously offers bribe to the accused in a trap case is that of an accomplice notwithstanding the fact that his intention was only to book the culprit from whom the demand of illegal gratification emanated. Therefore, the testimony of the complainant has to be analysed on these aspects with corroboration on material particulars.

The judgment of the trial Court illustrates and elucidates each and every aspect of the case. The trial Court has on the basis of the facts and the law applied to the case rightly concluded that, the evidence of PW-4 who has shaken the very substratum and the foundation of the prosecution case is credit worthy both on its merit and intrinsic value. It is correct to state that, the statement of PW-4 is neither in line nor in tune to the prosecution version in the matter of the demand, acceptance and the recovery of the bribe money. The trial Court has meticulously analysed and appreciated the statement of PW-1 and has rightly viewed that his statement is not free from blemish. The The trial Court on an analysis of the other evidence on record has rightly opined that, the prosecution has failed to corroborate the testimony of PW-1 in the material particulars of the case. The judgment of the trial Court is descriptive. It touches all the aspects of the case and nothing further requires to be added to it. It cannot be called in question on any of the grounds be that the application of law or the appreciation of the evidence. It is well written and complete in all the details as a corollary to which this appeal entails dismissal and accordingly, the same is dismissed and the judgment of the trial court is upheld.

Relevant : Ram Swaroop and ors. v. State of Rajasthan (MANU/RH/0232/2002: 2002 (13) SCC 134), Vijay Kumar v. State (MANU/SC/0627/2009: 2009 (12)SCC 629) and Upindra Pradhan v. State of Orissa (MANU/SC/0501/2015: 2015 (11) SCC 124)


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