Offence under Prevention of Corruption Act is against society, says SC

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New Delhi, Feb 2 (PTI) Offences under the Prevention of Corruption Act are “offences against the society”, the Supreme Court Tuesday said while setting aside the Gujarat High Court verdict which had acquitted an accused in a graft case.

The apex court, which observed that there was no re­-appreciation of entire evidence on record in detail while acquitting the accused, said the matter deserves to be remanded to the high court to consider it afresh in accordance with law.

“The high court ought to have appreciated that it was dealing with the offences under the Prevention of Corruption Act which offences are against the society. And therefore, the high court ought to have been more careful and ought to have gone in detail. We do not approve the manner in which the high court has dealt with the appeal,” a bench headed by Justice Ashok Bhushan said.

“The impugned judgment and order dated January 12, 2015…..passed by the high court acquitting the accused for the offences under the Act for which he was tried is hereby quashed and set aside. The appeal before the high court is restored to its original file,” it said.

The bench, also comprising Justices R S Reddy and M R Shah, delivered the judgement on an appeal filed by state of Gujarat against the January 2015 verdict of the high court.

The high court had acquitted the accused for the offences under the provisions of the Prevention of Corruption Act by setting aside the trial court verdict.

The trial court had convicted the accused, who was working as assistant director in ITI Gandhi Nagar, for the offence under the Prevention of Corruption Act and awarded him five years imprisonment along with a fine of Rs 10,000.

While setting aside the high court verdict, the apex court said, “The approach of the high court in dealing/non-­dealing with the evidence was patently illegal leading to grave miscarriage of justice.” “Therefore, we are of the firm opinion that the impugned judgment and order passed by the high court acquitting the respondent–accused without adverting to the reasons given by the trial court while convicting the accused and without re-appreciating the entire evidence on record in detail cannot be sustained and the same deserves to be quashed and set aside,” the bench said. PTI ABA ABA RKS RKS