State Through Inspector of
Police, A.P. Vs. K. Narasimhachary  Insc 567 (7 October 2005)
S.B. Sinha & R.V.
Raveendran S.B. Sinha, J
The State is in appeal before us from a judgment of the Andhra Pradesh High
Court dated 20.03.2003 in Criminal Appeal No.1058 of 1996, recording a finding
of acquittal as against the Respondent, upon reversing a judgment passed by the
Special Judge for SPE & ACB Cases, Nellore, dated 06.12.1996 convicting the
Respondent herein for commission of offences punishable under Sections 7, 11,
13(3) read with Section 13(1)(d) of the Prevention of Corruption Act, 1988 (for
short, 'the Act') and sentencing him to undergo rigorous imprisonment for one
year and to pay a fine of Rs.1,000/-.
The Respondent herein was a Mandal Revenue Inspector in the office of Mandal
Revenue Office, Cuddapah in the year 1994. The complainant (PW-1) was the owner
of some immovable property situated within the jurisdiction of the said Mandal
Office. He intended to get himself registered as a contractor with the Public
Works Department wherefor a certificate as regard valuation of his property was
necessary. An application to that effect was filed before the Mandal Revenue
Officer (PW-3) on 01.03.1994. The Mandal Revenue Officer adopted a peculiar procedure
by putting his initial thereon and handed over the same to PW-1 himself and
asked him to give it to the accused. When PW1 handed over application to the
accused on the same day, he is said to have asked him to present the same
before the Village Administrative Officer (PW-4) and to bring cultivation
accounts relating to his lands and certain statements. PW-4 thereafter recorded
the statements of PW-1 and his grandmother. He granted his own (VAO's)
Statement, statement of PW-1, his grandmother and village elders as also
certified copies of Adangals, extracts (revenue records) marked as Exs.P-2 to
P-6 to the said PW-1. PW-1 allegedly handed over the same to the Respondent on
02.03.1994. The Respondent is said to have demanded a sum of Rs.1,000/- for issuance
of the property valuation certificate. He on the next day i.e. on 03.03.1994
met the Respondent at the office of PW-3 and upon negotiation, the amount of
alleged illegal gratification was reduced to Rs.600/- from Rs.1000/-. A
complaint was made to the ACB on 05.03.1994 at 6.35 A.M. A trap was laid at 12.30 P.M. on the same day upon complying with the usual formalities. A sum of Rs.600/- in
the denomination of Rs.50/- is said to have been recovered from the Respondent
allegedly kept by him in his right pocket of the trouser.
The defence of the Respondent was that certificate valuing the complainant's
land for a sum of Rs. one lac was submitted on 04.03.1993 itself whereas PW-1
wanted that the valuation of the lands should be made three lacs; and as the Respondent
did not oblige, PW-1 bore grudge against him as a result he was falsely
The learned Special Judge framed as many as five issues and answered them
against the Respondent by a judgment dated 6.12.1996, holding the Respondent
guilty of the offence punishable under Section 13(1)(d) read with Section 13(2)
of the Act.
On appeal, the High Court reversed the said findings, inter alia, holding
that the order of sanction dated 1.5.1995 was not proved by PW-6 in accordance
with law. On merit of the matter also, the High Court opined that the
prosecution has not been able to prove its case against the Respondent.
Mr. P. Vinay Kumar, the learned Counsel appearing on behalf of the
Appellant, in assailing the impugned judgment, would contend that the High
Court committed an error in holding that the order of sanction was not
admissible in evidence having not been proved by PW-6 in accordance with law.
The learned counsel also took us through the evidences of the prosecution
witnesses and submitted that PW-3 and PW-5 corroborated the evidence of the
complainant (PW-1). It was contended that the fact that the Respondent was
merely a recommending authority and not the final authority for the purpose of
grant of a valuation certificate cannot be treated to be a ground for
disbelieving the entire prosecution case.
Mr. Srinivas R. Rao, the learned counsel appearing on behalf of the
Respondent, on the other hand, would submit that the prosecution was bound to
prove the order of sanction in accordance with law. The learned counsel in this
behalf relied upon a decision of this Court in R.J. Singh Ahuluwalia vs. The
State of Delhi [(1970) 3 SCC 451].
The learned counsel would take us through the judgment of the High Court and
submit that the High Court has taken into consideration all the facts and
circumstances of this case in arriving at a finding that the State has not been
able to prove its case against the Respondent.
The order of sanction dated 02.03.1995 has been produced in original. The
order of sanction is a Government Order No.GOMs. No.76 dated 02.03.1995 A bare
perusal of the order of sanction shows that the allegation as against the
Respondent herein for taking into consideration that the Government of Andhra
Pradesh, who was the competent authority to remove the said Sri K. Narasimha
Chari, Mandal Revenue Inspector, Cuddapah, from the Government Service, after
fully and carefully examining the material placed before them in respect of the
said allegations and having regard to the circumstances of the case considered
that the Respondent should be prosecuted in the court of law; whereupon the
order of sanction was issued in the name of the Governor. Shri N. Madanmohan
Reddy, Secretary to the Government, merely authenticated the said order of
sanction which was issued in the name of the Governor of Andhra Pradesh. The
order of sanction was, thus, issued by the State in discharge of its statutory
functions in terms of Section 19 of the Act. The order of sanction was
authenticated. The said order of sanction was an executive action of a State
having been issued in the name of the Governor. It was authenticated in the
manner specified in the Rules of Executive Business. The authenticity of the
said order has not been questioned. It was, therefore, a public document within
the meaning of Section 74 of the Indian Evidence Act. PW-6 proved the signature
of Shri N. Madanmohan Reddy. He identified his signature.
He was not cross-examined on the premise that he did not know the signature
of Shri N. Madanmohan Reddy. In answer to the only question put to him, he
stated "By the time the Secretary signed in Ex.P.17 I was in G.A.D."
Nothing was, thus, elicited in the cross-examination of the said witness to
show that he was not a competent witness to identify the signature of Shri
The Respondent, therefore, allowed the said document to be exhibited without
any demur. He did not question the admissibility of the said document before
the Trial Court, either when the same was exhibited or at the final hearing
before the trial court. He, therefore, could not be permitted to question the
admissibility of the said document for the first time before 2005 AIR SCW 4565
: 2005 (7) SCALE 238].
A public document can be proved in terms of Sections 76 to 78 of the
Evidence Act. A public document can be proved otherwise also. The High Court,
therefore, was not correct in invoking the provisions of Section 47 of the
Indian Evidence Act in the instant case as it was not called upon to form an
opinion as to by whom the said order of sanction was written and signed.
PW-6 was not examined as an expert or was required to give his opinion as
regard the correctness or otherwise of the signature of the said N.
Madanmohan Reddy. The authenticity of the said document was never in
The High Court relied upon a decision of this Court in Gulzar Ali vs.
State of H.P. [(1998) 2 SCC 192], wherein this Court observed :
"It must be remembered that expert evidence regarding handwriting is
not the only mode by which genuineness of a document can be established. The
requirement in Section 67 of the Evidence Act is only that the handwriting must
be proved to be that of the person concerned. In order to prove the identity of
the handwriting any mode not forbidden by law can be resorted to. Of course,
two modes are indicated by law in Sections 45 and 47 of the Evidence Act. The
former permits expert opinion to be regarded as relevant evidence and the
latter permits opinion of any person acquainted with such handwriting to be regarded
as relevant evidence. Those and some other provisions are subsumed under the
title "Opinion of third persons, when relevant". Opinions of third
persons, other than those enumerated in the fasciculus of provisions, would
have been irrelevant. Among the permitted opinions those mentioned in Sections
45 and 47 are also included. So it cannot be said that identity of handwriting
of a document can be established only by resorting to one of those two
sections. There can be other modes through which identity of the handwriting
can be established" It is, therefore, evident that the High Court misread
and misconstrued the law laid down by this Court in the aforementioned
decision. It also wrongly applied Section 47 of the Indian Evidence Act.
In R.J. Singh Ahuluwalia (supra), this Court was concerned with the validity
of the sanction; inasmuch as therein the Home Ministry, which was the
sanctioning authority did not make any sanction, as a result whereof it was
conceded by the State that in absence thereof the prosecution must fail.
In Mohd. Iqbal Ahmed vs. State of Andhra Pradesh [(1979) 4 SCC 172], the
order of sanction was found to be invalid as the sanctioning authority did not
duly apply its mind.
Therein this Court held that an order of valid sanction can be proved by the
Sanctioning Authority in two ways : either (1) by producing the original
sanction which itself contains the facts constituting the offence and the
grounds of satisfaction; or (2) by adducing evidence aliunde to show that the
facts were placed before the Sanctioning Authority and the satisfaction arrived
at by it. In this case, the original order of sanction has been produced.
So far as the merit of the matter is concerned, as would appear from the
discussions made hereinbefore that the prosecution case is not entirely free
from doubt. PW-1 intended to obtain a signature as regard valuation of his
lands so as to enable him to get himself registered with the Public Works
Department as a contractor. He went to PW-3. PW-3 did not send the same to the
Respondent by following the existing procedure. He merely initialed the same
and handed over it back to PW-1 allegedly for the purpose of giving it to the
Respondent who in turn asked to take it to PW-4.
It is really curious that when PW-1 handed over the application to PW-4 on
2.3.1994, on the same day his statement as also the statement of his
grandmother were recorded and all the documents, namely, Ext. P-2 and P-6 were
handed over by him to PW-1 who in turn handed them over to the Respondent. It
was at this stage the purported demand was said to have been made. Strangely
enough he met the Respondent in the evening of 03.03.1994, although a demand
was said to have been made by the Respondent on 02.03.1994 in the office,
presumably after office hours and then the amount of gratification was reduced
from Rs.1,000/- to Rs.600/-.
PW-1 did not make any complaint to PW-3 on the said date i.e. 03.03.1994 and
even on 04.03.1994, although from the conduct of PW-1 and PW-3, it is evident
that they were very close to each other. PW-3 apparently intended to help him
out of way. The valuation certificate was sent to PW-3 by the Respondent on
04.03.1994 which was signed by PW-3 on the same day. It was also certified by
PW-4. It is wholly unlikely that although his demand was not met, the
Respondent would forward his certificate to PW-3. The natural conduct of the
Respondent, if he had in fact demanded any amount by way of gratification,
would have been to wait for PW-1 to meet his demand.
It is not in dispute that it was PW-4, who was to evaluate the property and
it was PW-3 who was to grant the certificate. The Respondent was merely a
recommending authority. In the aforementioned situation, the High Court has
arrived at the following findings :
"The evidence on record in this case discloses that Ex.P1 was submitted
by PW1 directly to PW3 and it has moved with almost jet speed. The local
verification, recording of statements, furnishing of certified copies of
revenue record etc., had taken place within one day. The file reached PW3, in
all probability on 03.03.1994 and he signed on the next day. PW3 was very much
accessible to PW-1. If he sensed and delay or if there were any hindrances, he
could have brought the same to the notice of PW.3 himself. When PW3 received
Ex.P1 directly from PW.1 without any objection, there should not have been any
impediment in handing over the Ex.P.8 to PW.1 directly. The accused was neither
the issuing authority nor was the outward clerk. He figured somewhere in
between. The handing over of Ex.P8 by PW3 to the accused appears to be
deliberate and planned.
Suggestions to PW3 that he was suspended for certain irregularities on
earlier occasion, he bore grudge against the accused and wanted to implicate
him gains credence in this regard." Shri K. Kumar (PW-8) was the Deputy
Superintendent of Police, ACB, at Tirupathi. On 05.03.1994, he was at Cuddapah.
According to PW- 1, he approached PW-8 at 6.35 a.m., whereas according to PW-8,
he came to him at 8.00 a.m. The mediators were summoned and the trap was laid
after making all arrangements therefor at about 12.30 p.m. After the
transaction was completed, the Respondent was found having not only the tainted
amount of Rs.600/- but also a sum of Rs.235/- in different denominations and
wads. Why the said amount of Rs.235/- which was recovered from the right pocket
of the accused was not subjected to phenolphthalein test is a matter of guess.
The amount of Rs.235/- was kept in the same pocket of his trouser, it must have
come in contact with the tainted amount.
PW-1 appears to be an influential person. He could approach PW-3 directly.
He was in a position to obtain a certificate, copies of various documents from
PW-4 on the same day as also obtain a certificate from him on the same day.
Thus, as the valuation certificate was sent to PW-3 by the Respondent on
04.03.1994, there does not appear to be any good reason as to why PW-1 would
not come to know thereabout. According to him, he came to know that PW-8 was at
Cuddapah and be approached him in the early morning at 6.35 on 05.03.1994.
Having regard to the facts and circumstances of this case, we are of the
opinion that two views are possible and the view of the High Court cannot be
said to be wholly improbable; it cannot be said, in view of the discussions
made hereinbefore, that the materials brought on records would lead to only one
conclusion, i.e., the guilt of the accused. The impugned judgment, therefore,
For the reasons aforementioned, we do not intend to interfere with the
impugned judgment of the High Court. The Appeal is dismissed accordingly.