Lal Vs. State of Haryana  INSC 27 (30 January 1987)
G.L. (J) Oza, G.L. (J) Dutt, M.M. (J)
1987 AIR 806 1987 SCR (2) 115 1987 SCC (2) 648 JT 1987 (1) 334 1987 SCALE
of Corruption Act, 1947, s.5(2) and s.161 Indian Penal Code, 1860--Accused a patwari--Demanding
money for supply of copies from revenue record--Defence that money received for
deposit in small savings scheme--Defence version disbelieved-Conviction and
appellant, who was a Patwari, had been demanding money for supply of copies
from the revenue record to the complainant who needed them in connection with
the execution of a sale deed. The bargain was settled for Rs.200. Rs.50 were
paid in advance and therefore copies were given, but the appellant was to
receive the balance of Rs. 150 for which the complainant had promised to pay it
on the date of registration and accordingly on the date of registration it was
fixed up that the appellant will be available at the tea stall near the Tehsil
where this amount will be paid. The complainant brought the conduct of the
appellant to the notice of the Sub-Divisional Officer who sent a complaint to
the Police Station, on the basis of which first information report was lodged.
concerned Police Officers were not available, the Sub Divisional Officer
himself laid a trap. The complainant handed over the currency notes initialled
by the Sub-Divisional Officer to the appellant. On receiving a signal, the
Sub-Divisional Officer and the witnesses reached there and on personal search
currency notes of Rs. 150 were recovered from the person of the appellant.
appellant was prosecuted and convicted under s.5(2) of the Prevention of
Corruption Act, 1947 and sentenced to rigorous imprisonment for two years and
fine of Rs. 150 and also under s. 161 of the Indian Penal Code to rigorous
imprisonment for one year and a fine of Rs. 100. The plea of the appellant that
the Government wanted to collect money from the land holders for small savings
scheme and the Patwaris were instructed to collect this amount was rejected by
the Special Judge.
The appeal of the appellant was dismissed by the High Court.
further appeal to this Court, on behalf of the appellant it was contended that
the copies of the revenue record which were needed by the complainant had
already been supplied to him and the sale deed was registered before the trap
and that the appellant had received the money for depositing the same under the
small savings scheme on behalf of the complainant.
allowing the appeal,
1. The conviction of the appellant under s.5(2) of the Prevention of Corruption
Act, 1947 and s. 161 of the Indian Penal Code is maintained. However, his
sentence as regards sentence of imprisonment is reduced to the sentence already
undergone but the sentence of fine is maintained, [120D-E]
explanation given by the appellant was that he had received the amount to be
deposited in the small savings scheme on behalf of the complainant. He had
neither made any note of this fact nor given any receipt to the complainant.
Sub-Divisional Officer was a Revenue Officer and the appellant being a Patwari
was his subordinate. The normal conduct of the appellant would have been to
tell him as soon as he arrived for search that in fact he had received this
amount for depositing it under the small savings scheme. The conduct of the
appellant in not coming out with this explanation instantaneously goes a long
way to make his explanation just an after thought specially when Sub-Divisional
Officer conducted the search and recovered the amount from his person. The
Courts below were right in discarding this explanation of the appellant.
Where the receipt of the amount and Rs recovery is not disputed it is not
necessary for this Court to go through the evidence and examine it afresh.
APPELLATE JURISDICTION: Criminal Appeal No. 208 of 1978.
the Judgment and Order dated 23.12. 1977 of the Punjab and Haryana High Court in Criminal Appeal No. 259 of 1974
M.R. Sharma, C.M. Sharma and H.K. Puri for the Appellant.
Lal, I.S. Goel and C.V. Subba Rao for the Respondent.
Judgment of the Court was delivered by OZA, J. This appeal has been filed by
the appellant after the grant of special leave by this Court against his
conviction under Sec. 5(2) of the Prevention of Corruption Act and sentence to
rigorous imprisonment for 2 years and fine of Rs. 150 and also under Sec. 161
of the Indian Penal Code and rigorous imprisonment for one year and a fine of Rs.
100 awarded by Special Judge, Ambala and maintained by the High Court of Punjab
& Haryana by its judgment dated 23.12. 1977.
to the prosecution Shri M.G. Devasahayam P.W.4 Sub-Divisional Officer-, Jagadhri
had sent a complaint against the appellant to the Station House Officer, Jagadhri
on 7.6.1972 on the basis of which the first information report was recorded at
Police Station about 4 P.M. on 7.6.1972. The Sub-Divisional Officer has
received an application from one Gian Singh complainant about the conduct of
the appellant. It was alleged by Gian Singh P.W.2 in the complaint that the appellant
who was a Patwari of Bambhol Circle, had been demanding money for supply of
copies from the revenue record and Gian Singh needed those copies in connection
with the execution of a sale-deed. Gian Singh was to purchase land form Brij Bhushan
who was to act as an Attorney for his mother. It was alleged that for this
Rs.200 were settled out of which Rs.50 were paid and Rs. 150 were to be paid on
the date of the sale-deed. The copies of the documents required were obtained
after Rs.50 were paid. The sale-deed was to be executed on 7.6.72 and therefore
on this date (Gian Singh and Brij Bhushan approached the Sub-Divisional Officer
with an application making these allegations against the appellant. The
Sub-Divisional Officer attempted to contact the Deputy Superintendent of Police
and the SubInspector of Police incharge of the Police Station concerned, but
when none of them were available he himself decided to lay a trap. It is
alleged that Gian Singh P.W.2, Brij Bhushan P.W.3, Raj Kumar and Mangal Singh
P.W. 1 had gone to the house of the Sub-Divisional Officer at 2.40 P.M.
7.6.1972. Gian Singh narrated the whole story and stated that he had promised
to pay he appellant Rs. 150 on the date on which the sale deed was to be
executed. Rs. 150 were produced by Gian Singh which included a 100 rupee note
and 5 notes of Rs. 10 each. Their number were noted and the SubDivisional
Officer initialled the currency notes and were given to Gian Singh and a trap
was laid. Brij Bhushan was asked to act as a witness. Gian Singh 118 and Brij Bhushan
therefore reached the canteen near the Tehsil. The Sub-Divisional Officer, Raj
Kumar and Mungal Singh went to Tensil premises in a Jeep and waited near the
tea stall for a signal. On receiving the signal they reached there and on
personal search currency notes of Rs. 150 were recovered from the person of the
appellant. On these facts the appellant was prosecuted and was convicted and
sentenced as mentioned above. The facts are not disputed. The money has been
recovered from the possession of the appellant and it is also not disputed that
he received this money from Gian Singh. Even before the High Court these facts
were not disputed. The plea taken by the appellant was that the Govt.
to collect money from the land holders for small savings schemes and the Patwaris
were instructed to collect this amount. Appellant also examined some defence to
indicate that such circulars were issued to the Patwaris and they were
collecting the amounts to be deposited in the small savings schemes and on this
basis they received appreciation and those who could not collect sufficient
amount to meet the target also received remarks. It was contended before the
High Court and also before this Court that this amount the appellant had
received as a deposit for the small savings scheme and which was ultimately
recovered by the Sub-Divisional Officer. It was also contended that in fact the
copies of the revenue record which were needed by Gian Singh had already been
supplied to him and in fact the sale deed was registered on 7th June before
this trap and therefore it was alleged that Rs. 150 were paid as alleged by
appellant and it was on this basis contended that the explanation given by the
appellant that he had received the money to be deposited under the small
savings scheme appear to be reasonable.
significant that when the Sub-Divisional Officer on getting the signal reached
the canteen along with the witnesses and conducted the search it was not the
stand of the appellant that he had received the money for small scale deposits
as it is apparent that if the money was received for that purpose, as soon as
the Sub-Divisional Officer reached the canteen with the witnesses and wanted to
search the appellant, appellant would have immediately came out with this
explanation. Learned counsel for the appellant frankly conceded that this was
not the case of the appellant that he came out with this explanation on the
spot at that time. This is not his case even in the statement recorded at the
trial nor such a suggestion was put to anyone of the prosecution witnesses in
the course of cross examination. In view of this it could not be disputed that
this explanation has been given as an after thought and this itself goes to
show that this explanation is just as an imagination.
There appears to be some controversy about the fact as to whether the Patwaris
were directed to collect funds for small savings schemes and in this respect
the learned Trial Court also examined the Tehsildar as a Court witness and
after considering all the evidence disregarded the explanation given by the
appellant in respect of the money (Rs. 150) recovered from his person.
learned Trial Court after considering the defence evidence and the evidence of
the Tehsildar did not accept the defence version and convicted the appellant.
The Trial Court also considered the evidence of P.W .5 Jeet Ram who was the
keeper of the tea stall who was examined by the prosecution but he turned
'hostile' and supported the defence version.
counsel for the appellant went through the evidence in detail and attempted to
contend that as the copies of the documents had already been received there was
no occasion for Gian Singh to pay Rs.150. According to the prosecution the
bargain was settled for Rs.200. Rs.50 were paid in advance and therefore copies
were given but the appellant was to receive the balance of Rs. 150 for which Gian
Singh had promised to pay it on the date of the registration and accordingly on
the date of registration it was fixed up that the appellant will be available
at the tea stall near the Tehsil where this amount will be paid and it was
because of this that Gian Singh approached the Sub Divisional Officer with the
complaint. In fact where the receipt of the amount and its recovery is not
disputed it is not necessary for us to go through the evidence and examine it
afresh, although learned counsel went through the evidence in detail. The only
question is as to whether the Courts below were fight in rejecting the
explanation of the appellant for receipt of Rs. 150. The explanation given by
the appellant which was seriously pressed by the learned counsel for the
appellant was that he had received this amount to be deposited in the small
savings scheme on behalf of Gian Singh but it is significant that neither he
had made any note of this fact nor given any receipt to Gain Singh.
from it it is significant that the Sub-Divisional Officer who was a revenue
officer and the appellant being a Patwari was his subordinate. The normal
conduct of the appellant would have been to tell him as soon as he arrived for
search that in fact he had received this amount to be deposited in the small
savings scheme. It is impossible to believe that if the appellant had received
this amount for being deposited in the small savings scheme he would have not
opened his mouth and permitted the search and recovery of this amount from his
pocket to be done by the Sub Divisional Officer and allowed the matter to be
120 handed over to the Police and still would not have come out to say what he
chose to say at the trial. This conduct of the appellant in not coming out with
this explanation instantaneously goes a long way to make this explanation just
an after thought specially when Sub-Divisional Officer conducted the search and
recovered this amount from his person.
this view of the matter therefore in our opinion both the Courts below were
fight in discarding this explanation of the appellant. We therefore see no
substance in this contention advanced on behalf of the appellant.
counsel ultimately contended that this appellant a Patwari who had faced the trial
and pendency of this appeal for about 14 years will now have to go to jail for
serving out a part of this sentence which remained to be served. It is no doubt
true that having been convicted for these offences the appellant is bound to
lose his service.
also stated that he had served out some sentence of the imprisonment also. The
incident is of 1972 and we are now in 1987. In view of these circumstances in
our opinion the sentence of the imprisonment already undergone and sentence of
find imposed by Hon'ble the Trial Court will meet the ends of justice.
Consequently appeal is partly allowed. The conviction of the appellant under Sec.5(2)
of the Prevention of Corruption Act and Sec. 161 of the Indian Penal Code is
maintained. However his sentence as regards sentence of imprisonment is reduced
to the sentence already undergone but the sentence of fine is maintained. He is
on bail. His bail bond shall be cancelled if he had not paid the amount of fine
he shall do so within one month from today.