Proliferation of arms disrupts the social order

Written by Indu Bhan | Indu Bhan | Updated: Sep 5 2012, 08:55am hrs
Its not so easy to escape a corruption case

Setting at rest controversy over the legitimacy of a criminal trial under the Prevention of Corruption Act in the case of Ajay Kumar Tyagi vs State of NCT of Delhi, the Supreme Court has ruled that a corruption case against government employees cannot be quashed despite a clean chit being given by the department.

The judgment will boost the investigating agencies engaged in dealing with increasing number of corruption cases in the country.

The departmental proceedings do not supersede legal process, it said, paving the way for criminal proceedings to be initiated against a Delhi Jal Board junior engineer, Ajay Kumar Tyagi, who had sought the quashing of a corruption case against him as the departmental inquiry had already found him innocent. Tyagi has been facing a criminal trial for taking a bribe of R1,000 from a Delhi police constable for clearing a file for water connection.

It is well-settled that the standard of proof in the departmental proceeding is lower than that in criminal prosecution... Truthfulness of the evidence in the criminal case can be judged only after the evidence is adduced therein and the criminal case cannot be rejected on the basis of the evidence in the departmental proceeding or the report of the inquiry officer based on those evidence, the larger bench of the apex court held.

It set aside the Delhi High Court judgment that exonerated Tyagi on the grounds that if the charge could not be proved in the departmental proceedings, where the standard of proof was much lower, it is very unlikely that it could be proved in a criminal trial where the standard of proof is quite stringent comparatively.

No anticipatory bail to absconders

In a significant ruling, the Supreme Court has held that an absconding accused, who has also been declared a proclaimed offender, is not entitled to anticipatory bail.

Settling the law on the issue, which has been bothering the judiciary for a long time, the apex court in the case of Lavesh vs NCT of Delhi said that when a person against whom a warrant has been issued is concealing himself and has been declared a proclaimed offender under Section 82 of the Criminal Procedure Code, he cannot get the benefit of anticipatory bail.

While dismissing the plea of Lavesh, who is accused of abetting the suicide of his younger brothers pregnant wife for dowry within a year of marriage, the apex court said that considering his conduct, his not being amenable to investigation and his being declared an absconder, there is no question of granting him anticipatory bail.

Unless a free hand is given to the investigating agency, particularly, in the light of the allegations made against the appellant (Lavesh) and his family members, the truth will not surface, it said, adding the accused is free to seek bail after he surrenders.

Laveshs successive anticipatory bail pleas were earlier dismissed by the sessions and the Delhi High Court.

Arms proliferation and the havoc it creates

Expressing displeasure over how subordinate judiciary and law enforcing agencies treat offences of illegal possession of arms lightly, the Supreme Court has said such proliferation of arms and ammunition vitiates the law-and-order situation and creates havoc in the national security and the unity of the nation.

Proliferation of arms and ammunition, whether licensed or not, in the country disrupts the social order and development, vitiates the law-and-order situation, directly contributes towards lethality of violent acts which needs to be curbed, it said in the case of State of Madhya Pradesh vs Ayub Khan.

While sentencing Khan to three years of imprisonment, it said that the Madhya Pradesh High Court and the trial court had dealt with the case casually and lightly.

Khan, who was arrested with a country-made barrel gun with two bullets and 50 gms of explosives without any licence, was sentenced only to seven days of imprisonment by the HC and one-year imprisonment by the trial court when the minimum sentence prescribed under the Arms Act is three years. We are sorry to note that the high court has not taken pains to examine what was the period he had served by way of substantive sentence the top court said.

indu.bhan@expressindia.com