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SC questioned the mode of punishment imposed under the Prevention of Corruption Act

The Apex Court, while hearing a SLP against Karnataka High Court’s decision, opined that the corruption related matters should not be dealt in a lenient manner and that the convicted public servants’ punishment should not be necessarily restricted to simple imprisonment, as the Prevention of Corruption Act, 1988 also does not specify the description of imprisonment.

The instant SLP had been filed against Karnataka HC’s order, wherein the HC affirmed the petitioner’s conviction order passed by the Special Court under Sections 7, 13(1)(d) and 13(2) of the Prevention of Corruption Act.

The petitioner had been working at Gram Panchayat Secretary of Kavalaga village. The wife of complainant had been selected under only Ashraya Scheme during the year 2006-2007 and was sanctioned a particular sum of money for construction of house.

The said amount was disbursed in four instalments and at the time of third instalment, petitioner demanded Rs. 500 from the complainant in order to give the cheque. The complainant had been reluctant enough to give the bribe and lodged a complaint against the petitioner/accused.

The petitioner was alleged to have accepted gratification other than the legal remuneration which he received for his official act. The Special Court reduced the quantum of punishment awarded to him, in view of his old age.

The apex court, however, dismissed the SLP and upheld Karnataka HC’s order. The bench also remarked as to why the High Court’s award only simple imprisonment to the public officers’ matters related to corruption. The bench was of the opinion that since the public servants are alleged to have been involved in corruption, such matters must be dealt strictly.

According to the Section 7 of the Act, the legislature has only stated the quantum of punishment to be awarded to the convict, but has not restricted the interpretation to simple imprisonment. The bench stated that it would consider awarding a punishment, apart from a simple imprisonment, in future.

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