An amount of Rs 100 seems to be “too small” as a bribe in the year 2007 and more so now, the Bombay High Court has said while acquitting a government medical officer in a corruption and bribery case.
A single bench of Justice Jitendra Jain on Tuesday said it was a fit case to be treated as a trivial matter and upheld the trial court order acquitting the medical officer.
In 2007, one LT Pingale accused Dr Anil Shinde, the medical officer of a rural hospital at Paud in Maharashtra’s Pune district, of seeking Rs 100 to certify his injuries following an alleged assault by his nephew.
Mr Pingale complained to the Anti-Corruption Bureau, which laid a trap and caught Dr Shinde red-handed. He was prosecuted under provisions of the Prevention of Corruption Act.
In January 2012, a special court acquitted Dr Shinde of all charges which was challenged by the state in the high court.
The high court, however, found no merit in the state’s appeal.
“In the instant case, the allegation is acceptance of a bribe of Rs 100 in the year 2007. The amount appears to be too small in the year 2007 and more so, in the year 2023 when the appeal is being heard against the acquittal,” the bench said in its order.
“Therefore, assuming that the appellant-complainant is able to prove the charges (although, I have already held that they have failed to prove the charges), in my view after considering quantum at the relevant time this could be a fit case to be treated as a trivial matter to uphold the acquittal order,” it said.
The bench relied on certain provisions of the Prevention of Corruption Act that if the alleged bribe of gratification is trivial, then no inference of corruption may be drawn and the court may refuse to presume that the accused is corrupt.
The high court dismissed the state government’s appeal.
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