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“If the investigation is unauthorized the trial springing from it cannot be considered lawful”: SC

A.C. SHARMA V. DELHI ADMINISTRATION, ON 5TH FEBRUARY 1973, APPEAL CRIMINAL NO. 28 OF 1973, 1973 AIR SC 913.

The appeal was dismissed by the SC under the bench comprised of Justice DUA I.D, Justice ALAGIRISWAMI A, Justice VAIDYIALINGAM C.A. as they were unable to find any cogent ground for re-appraising the evidence in this appeal.

The appellant was the dealing clerk in the labour office in Delhi. He was tried and convicted under the Prevention of Corruption Act and the Indian Penal Code by the Special Judge Delhi. The appeal made in the High Court was dismissed, so the appeal was brought under the Supreme Court.

The question of law, in this case, is whether the Deputy Superintendent of the Anti-Corruption Department of the Delhi Administration can conduct investigation against the appellant into the offences of bribery and corruption?

Whether the evidence provided by both the parties are equally trustworthy?

The learned counsel for appellant Frank Anthony and K. B. Rohatgi contended that the investigation should be conducted by the Deputy Superintendent of the Anti-Corruption Department of the Delhi Administration was against the Delhi Special Police Establishment Act. It was prescribed that special powers and procedure for the investigation of offences of bribery and corruption in the departments of the Central Government and as the appellant was an employee of the Central Public Works Department, offences against him could only be investigated by the Special Police Establishment. Therefore the appellant felt that his trial was to cause fail of force or effect.

“If the investigation is unauthorized the trial springing from it cannot be considered lawful”

The counsel for the Additional Solicitor-General of India, F. S. Nariman contended that if the special powers were granted by the Special Police Establishment, whether the Deputy Superintendent of the Anti-Corruption Department is completely dispossessed of its power to conduct investigation against the appellant.

When the advocate for the appellant contended that section 3 of this Act confers on D.S.P.E. exclusive jurisdiction for investigating the offences specified by the Central Government by notification in the Gazette. The counsel for Additional Solicitor-General of India replied that section 3 is provided for the officers and not for clerks.

Mr Anthony has answered that if section 3 has a word “May or Can” instead of “are”. The word “ARE” indicates that the other investigation officers are excluded. Now the evidence given by the witness is questioned by the counsel for the appellant.

“The evidence of Bakht Ram, the complainant and submitted that this witness has told lies in the witness box and Srivastava who was also a party to the trap and appeared as a. witness to the acceptance of the bribe was also subjected to criticism by the learned counsel. According to this criticism, his evidence is equally untrustworthy”

The defense counsel made a contention that the argument made by the counsel for the appellant should not have been accepted. The defence witnesses were submitted at the earliest opportunity. It was pointed out that Wazir Chand who was stated to be present when the appellant is said without proof to have demanded the bribe should have been produced by the prosecution and failure to do so has seriously biased the appellant’s case.

“The plea that he had been won over and was. therefore, not produced, did not justify his non- production”

The same contentions were also raised in the High Court and after considering all the plea made SC also has the same view oh the HC. The considerations were resisted fot the reaons which they thought would be sound.

The Supreme Court’s view is that there is no disability in the order of the High Court. Further, this court couldn’t find any grounds for reappreciating the evidence in the appeal made in the SC. No extraordinary rule was made as a contention by the appellant to show that the order of the HC is erred so which the High Court’s order was upheld and the appeal was dismissed.

The SC held that,

“There is no grave injustice as a result of any irregularity or other infirmity either in the trial or in the judgments of the trial court and the High Court. The result, therefore, is that the appeal fails and is dismissed”

View/Download Judgment: A.C. SHARMA V. DELHI ADMINISTRATION

– Manusri ramakrishna

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