The question of raising the presumption under said Section 20 would not arise unless it is shown that there was conscious acceptance of the amount knowing it to be illegal gratification.
The trial process and proceedings leading to commencement of trial should be absolutely flawless. The prosecution have to be and need to be cautious about it failing which legislation like Prevention of Corruption Act would become toothless. The second aspect which, lead Delhi High Court to propound directions in respect to administrative functioning of subordinate courts is also an essential part of this matter where the trial court had no clue as to what happened to the part of the statement recorded which went missing from the hard disk of court’s computer.
The present appeal was filed against the impugned judgment convicting the Appellant for the offences under Section 7 and Section 13 (1) (d) read with Section 13 (2) of the Prevention of Corruption Act, 1988 (PC Act) and the order on sentence. The Appeal was allowed considering flawed approach adopted which apparently further persuaded the trial Court to overlook discrepancies as regards the link evidence to establish the charges leveled and as a consequence there were considerable doubts whether the hand and shirt wash samples (as collected during the raid conducted against Appellant) sent to the Forensic Science Laboratory (FSL) were in fact those purportedly collected at the spot.
It was observed and reiterated that the prosecution has to prove the key ingredients beyond reasonable doubt before the presumption under Section 20 of the PC Act can stand attracted and in the absence of a proof of demand, the question of raising the presumption under said Section 20 would not arise unless it is shown that there was conscious acceptance of the amount knowing it to be illegal gratification.
The important aspect, however, which came up in the present matter was the missing information in form of statement recorded under Section 313 of the Code of Criminal Procedure (CrPC) from the hard disk of Court’s computer. Statement under Section 313 is vital from the trial perspective. The High Court considering the importance and appropriateness propounded following directions for compliance by subordinate criminal courts where evidence (including evidence recorded through video conference) and statements of parties including those under Section 313 Cr PC are being recorded electronically:
(i) Every page of the evidence or statement typed electronically will have a footer indicating the number of the case in the left hand corner and the page out of the total number of pages of that document in the right hand corner;
(ii) The final corrected (and where applicable, the signed) versions of all evidence and statements recorded electronically shall, where recorded in a text format, be converted into the PDF format and digitally signed by the presiding judicial officer;
(iii) The digitally signed evidence shall be kept in a separate folder for each case and the folder properly labelled with the case number and cause title;
(iv) One back up copy should be taken in a flash drive/CD which should be kept in a secure cover/case which again should be properly labelled and kept with the ahlmad of the Court concerned;
(v) One copy should be uploaded on a central server in the Court complex;
(vi) Every ahlmad should maintain a register of the electronic evidence preserved on the Court’s computer and in the back up flash drive/CD;
[Surender Singh vs. State (NCT of Delhi)]
Delhi HC, 16.10.2014