of Maharashtra Vs. Gajanan & Anr  Insc
659 (18 December 2003)
Hegde & B.P.Singh.
2336-2337 2003 SANTOSH HEGDE,J.
learned counsel for the parties.
impugned judgment the High Court while entertaining a criminal appeal against
an order of conviction recorded by the Special Court against the respondents
herein for an offence under section 7 of the Prevention of Corruption Act, (the
Act) not only stayed the sentence imposed by the trial court but also proceeded
to stay the conviction which could facilitate the respondent public servant to
continue to hold the civil post in spite of the conviction recorded against
him. While doing so the High Court rejected the objection of the State as also
distinguished the judgment of this Court in K.C. Sareen v. CBI, Chandigarh (2001 (6) SCC 584) on facts.
perused the impugned order as also the judgment of this Court in K.C. Sareen
(supra), we find the High Court had no room for distinguishing the law laid
down by this Court in K.C. Sareen's case (supra) even on facts. This Court in
the said case held :
legal position, therefore, is this:
the power to suspend an order of conviction, apart from the order of sentence,
is not alien to Section 389(1) of the Code, its exercise should be limited to
very exceptional cases. Merely because the convicted person files an appeal in
challenge of the conviction the court should not suspend the operation of the
order of conviction. The court has a duty to look at all aspects including the
ramifications of keeping such conviction in abeyance. It is in the light of the
above legal position that we have to examine the question as to what should be
the position when a public servant is convicted of an offence under the PC Act.
doubt when the appellate court admits the appeal filed in challenge of the
conviction and sentence for the offence under the PC Act, the superior court
should normally suspend the sentence of imprisonment until disposal of the
appeal, because refusal thereof would render the very appeal otiose unless such
appeal could be heard soon after the filing of the appeal.
suspension of conviction of the offence under the PC Act, dehors the sentence
of imprisonment as a sequel thereto, is a different matter." (emphasis
supplied) In the said judgment of K.C. Sareen (supra), this Court has held that
it is only in very exceptional cases that the court should exercise such power
of stay in matters arising out of the Act. The High Court has in the impugned
order nowhere pointed out what is the exceptional fact which in its opinion
required it to stay the conviction. The High Court also failed to note the
direction of this Court that it has a duty to look at all aspects including
ramification of keeping such conviction in abeyance. The High Court, in our
opinion, has not taken into consideration any of the above factors while
staying the conviction. It should also be noted that the view expressed by this
Court in K.C. Sareen's case (supra) was subsequently approved followed by the
judgment of this Court in Union of India v. Atar Singh & Anr. [JT 2001 (10)
the reasons stated above, these appeals succeed.
impugned orders are set aside and the appeals are allowed.