The third fold of argument that the accused No.2 is not a public servant and is beyond the contemplation of the statute. The words occurring at Section 8 of the Act “Whoever accepts or obtains, or agrees to accept, or attempts to obtain, from any person, for himself or for any other person, any gratification…………” covers the persons other than the public servants contemplated by definition clause (c) of section 2 of the Act and that does not require much elaboration. Regarding the contention that section 7 of the P.C.Act cannot be invoked against accused No.1 is not within the competency of the petitioner to urge before this court. Even otherwise the charge sheet material contains voice recording of the accused Nos.1 and 2 and the complainant and also there is material that this petitioner made demand for bribe on behalf of the 1st accused
It is telltale that even after the Court issued notice to the Department in the present petition, the above instructions of the ADC have not been complied with. The undated cheques remained with the Department. What loss this entailed to the Government Exchequer is a different issue altogether. Then there is the loss of interest on the said amount. At least two scenarios are possible when such unbridled power of ‘collection’ of duty, on the spot, is allowed to go unchecked. One is that since there is nothing written down anywhere, the unscrupulous officers who constitute the survey/search team can ‘negotiate’ an amount of evaded duty and also agree to waiver of interest and penalty. This is without quantification and without a SCN. The duty evader gets away with a lighter amount and this is prejudicial to the interest of the Revenue. The second scenario is where an Assessee refuses to comply with an illegal demand and under threat and coercion is compelled to issue cheques or pay cash which is supposed to constitute the differential duty. This is undoubtedly prejudicial to the Assessee and is harmful to public interest. It is not rule of law but anarchy unleashed by holders of public office. Neither is it an acceptable scenario in a system governed by the rule of law. It metamorphises into a system of rule by law and, worse still, by abuse of law. It has to be stopped
Hon’ble Justice A. B. Chaudhari of the Nagpur Bench of the Bombay High Court has passed severe strictures against the Government for turning a blind eye to the rampant corruption in the Country. The learned Judge lamented that “It shocks one and all as to the manner in which the taxpayers’ money is being swindled, misappropriated and robbed by such unscrupulous holders of posts”.
He also pointed that corruption has become the order of the day over the past few decades and that taxpayers are helpless victims of the sordid state of affairs.
“Does the taxpayers pay the money to the Government for such kind of acrobatics being played” Justice Chaudhari asked in a rhetorical manner.
He also lamented that ethics and morals have taken a back seat in modern India’s scheme of things. He opined that to eradicate the “hydra headed monster” of corruption, citizens have to come together to tell their Governments that they have had enough. He also recommended that taxpayers’ may have to resort to refuse to pay taxes by a “non-cooperation movement“.
The learned Judge also found fault with the attitude of the employees’ unions who are otherwise very vigilant about their rights. He expressed surprise that the Unions do not “condemn, outcast or demonstrate against their counterpart bureaucracy indulging in corruption” and on the contrary support their misdeeds.
Mere possession and recovery of currency notes from an accused without proof of demand would not establish an offence under Sections 7 as well as 13(1)(d)(i)&(ii) of the Act. In the absence of any proof of demand for illegal gratification, the use of corrupt or illegal means or abuse of position as a public servant to obtain any valuable thing or pecuniary advantage cannot be held to be proved. The proof of demand is an indispensable essentiality and of permeating mandate for an offence under Sections 7 and 13 of the Act. Qua Section 20 of the Act, which permits a presumption as envisaged therein, it has been held that while it is extendable only to an offence under Section 7 and not to those under Section 13(1)(d) (i)&(ii) of the Act, it is contingent as well on the proof of acceptance of illegal gratification for doing or forbearing to do any official act. Such proof of acceptance of illegal gratification, it was emphasized, could follow only if there was proof of demand. Axiomatically, in absence of proof of demand, such legal presumption under Section 20 of the Act would also not arise. As a corollary, failure of the prosecution to prove the demand for illegal gratification would be fatal and mere recovery of the amount from the person accused of the offence under Sections 7 or 13 of the Act would not entail his conviction thereunder