Written by: Alisha Das (Intern)
Edited by: Anubhav Yadav (Content Head & Developer)
Stressing, that corruption is the deadliest enemy of every free civilized society, a Single Judge Bench of Hon’ble Ms. Justice Gita Gopi of the Gujarat High Court observed that society has become a victim to the rampant corrupt practices of the public servants. In Rajatkumar Kantibhai Patel vs. State of Gujarat, the Court was hearing a petition filed under Article 226 of the Constitution of India and section 482 of the CrPC, seeking appropriate action in connection with threats made to the petitioner by an Investigating Officer and a DSP Squad Officer regarding an FIR filed against him.
MATTER IN BRIEF
The applicant’s cousin’s sister, Niyativen, had a family dispute with her husband and in-laws. On April 3, 2018, the applicant went to her sister’s husband for a mutually acceptable settlement. When Niyatibven was hospitalised after taking an overdose of medicines, an FIR was filed against her husband and in-laws at the Visnagar City police station, citing sections 498(a) and 504 of the IPC, inter alia. In response, Niyatiben’s husband, Deepak Mavjibjhai Patel, provided fraudulent and fabricated information about the April 3, 2018 event, and lodged a ‘completely false’ FIR at the Mahesana Taluka police station. Even though a CCTV camera captured the appellant being assaulted by his cousin’s husband, no FIR was registered by the police in this regard.
During the pendency of FIR, the police officers demanded Rs.50,000/- from the applicant for his release on bail, but following negotiations, an amount of Rs.30,000/- was agreed upon. The police granted bail to the applicant on February 17, 2019, however, since the demand of Rs.30,000/- had not been fulfilled, it is alleged that the police threatened to seize his vehicle – Accent Car in case he failed to pay Rs.30,000/-. Hence, the applicant filed the instant petition seeking personal protection, inquiry, and investigation against the officers. The entire allegation against the police officers is regarding the payment of bribe money.
THE COURT HELD
The learned court relied on the case of M. Narayanan Nambiar v. State of Kerala, 1963 to reflect on the ambit and scope of the Prevention of Corruption Act, 1988. According to the preamble, the Act was passed because it was necessary to provide more effective provisions for the prevention of bribery and corruption. It created a framework for filing a complaint about corruption by public servants. It should be liberally construed to bring about the desired object i.e. to prevent corruption among public officials and to prevent harassment of the honest officials.
In the case of Subramanium Swamy v. Manmohan Singh, 2012 it was held that private citizens can file a private complaint against a public servant with no restrictions. The Court is not prohibited from taking cognizance of an offence based on evidence collected by a private individual. The right of private citizens to make complaints against public officials and to seek sanctions for prosecuting them stems from the rule of law.
The Court ordered the petitioner to approach the Anti Corruption Bureau or the Competent Special Court by filing a complaint under the Prevention of Corruption Act, 1988, and get his grievance addressed there under.