“The question, ‘whether in 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.”
In absence of evidence of complainant [direct/primary, oral/documentary evidence] it is permissible to draw an inferential deduction of culpability/guilt of a public servant under Section 7 and Section 13(1)(d) read with Section 13(2) based on other evidence adduced.
Hazari Lal v. Delhi Admn., (1980) 2 SCC 390 observed, it is not necessary, passing of money should be proved by direct evidence. It could also be proved by circumstantial evidence.
Court must adopt a cautious approach while basing its conviction purely on circumstantial evidence. Inference of guilt can be drawn only when all incriminating facts and circumstances are found to be incompatible with innocence. If combined effect of all proven facts taken together is conclusive in establishing guilt, a conviction would be justified even though any one or more of those facts by itself is not decisive [Sharad Birdhichand Sarda v. State of Maharashtra, (1984) 4 SCC 116 as reiterated in Prakash v. State of Rajasthan, (2013) 4 SCC 668].
We hope for sincere efforts to ensure, corrupt public servants are brought to book and convicted.
– Hon’ble Justice B.V. Nagarathna, Mrs. Neeraj Dutta v. Govt. of NCT of Delhi, [Criminal Appeal No. 1669 of 2009].