Referred to Larger Bench XVII: Illegal Gratification

Ravjit Singh Sethi received a phone call from Mrs. Neeraj Dutta [LDC, Delhi Vidyut Board]. She demanded Rupees Fifteen Thousand which was reduced to Rupees Ten Thousand. FIR. Rupees Ten Thousand was paid. Mrs. Neeraj Dutta handed over the same to Yogesh Kumar [Driver]. Shadow Witness, S.K. Awasthi and Inspector O.D. Yadav arrived. Phenolphthalein Test. Hands of both Mrs. Neeraj Dutta and Yogesh Kumar turned pink.

Trial Court held that the demand and acceptance of illegal gratification has been established and convicted Mrs. Neeraj Dutta under Section 7 and Section 13(1)(d) read with Section 13(2) of The Prevention of Corruption Act, 1988.

Appellant contended that mere proof of receipt of money in the absence of proof of demand of illegal gratification is not sufficient to prove guilt; Ravjit having passed away, primary evidence of demand was not established. P. Satyanarayana Murthy, (2015) 10 SCC 152 was relied upon.

State submitted P. Satyanarayana Murthy did not notice consistent views of Supreme Court [Kishan Chand Mangal, (1982) 3 SCC 466; Hazari Lal, (1980) 2 SCC 390].

The question: ‘whether in the absence of evidence of complainant / direct or primary evidence of demand of illegal gratification, is it not permissible to draw inferential deduction of culpability / guilt of a public servant under Section 7 and Section 13(1)(d) read with Section 13(2) of The Prevention of Corruption Act, 1988?’ requires a Larger Bench.”

Hon’ble Justice R. Banumathi, Mrs. Neeraj Dutta v. State (Govt. of NCT of Delhi), [Criminal Appeal No. 1669 of 2009].

Illegal Gratification