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No need to show sympathy in corruption cases: SC

The Bench noted that the appellant has not even undergone half of the sentence awarded by the trial court and filed a plea seeking suspension of sentence

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The Supreme Court on Monday dismissed a plea challenging the conviction and sentence of a man under Sections 7 and 13(2) of the Prevention of Corruption Act, 1988, stating that there is no need show sympathy in corruption cases.

A Bench of Justices Sanjay Kishan Kaul and Hrishikesh Roy noted that the appellant has not even undergone half of the sentence awarded by the trial court and herein filed a plea seeking suspension of sentence. 

The Bench told the Counsel of the appellant, “Had you undergone 1/3rd of your sentence, then we would have thought about entertaining this petition.”

The plea was filed by one Surjit Singh, urging to set aside suspension of sentence in a corruption case, wherein he demanded illegal gratification to render a favourable report for restoration of water courses to landowner Sukhwinder Singh.

The petition challenged the Punjab and Haryana High Court order, which had dismissed his appeal, noting that custody period alone cannot be a ground for suspension of sentence. It was argued before the High Court by the Counsel for the appellant that the prosecution had failed to prove the demand and acceptance. The appellant had already undergone custody of more than one-and-a-half years, argued the Counsel, seeking suspension of sentence. 

Surjit got convicted under Sections 7 and 13(2) of the Prevention of Corruption Act, 1988 and sentenced to undergo four years of RI and fine of Rs 10,000 under Section 7 and 4 years of R.I. under section 13(2)  of PC Act, 1988 and a fine of Rs 10,000 vide judgment dated February 13, 2020, in default of such payment, RI for one month was imposed upon the Petitioner.

The petitioner worked as Patwari in Canal Circle Matti, Canals Divisions, Mansa. A complaint was filed by Sukhwinder, alleging that he moved an application for restoration of water course to his land. The accused (applicant) demanded illegal gratification to render the favourable report. The Vigilance Authorities were approached by the complainant on August 18, 2015. A trap was laid down. There was shadow witness. Chemical was applied to currency notes. The applicant was apprehended red-handed.

The High Court had also denied the second argument of the appellant’s Counsel with regard to sanction order. The Court noted, “The prosecution examined the complainant as well as the shadow witness Veterinary Inspector to prove that the applicant demanded money, after that the complainant handed over the currency notes to the applicant.” 

Also Read: Supreme Court dismisses plea of TN municipal employee convicted for taking bribe of Rs 5,000

The High Court had held, “So far as the second argument sanctioned order is not legally proved does not enhance the case of the applicant. PW11 Lakhwinder Singh deposed to prove sanction given by the Chief Engineer of the Department being the competent authority. The Sanction order was accorded vide order dated 15.02.2017. The custody period alone cannot be a ground for suspension of sentence.” “No ground is made out for suspension of sentence,” said the Court while dismissing the appeal. 

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