Delhi High Court: Prevention of Corruption (Amendment) Act 2018 Will Not Affect Offences Committed Prior To Its Enactment

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Delhi High Court on Friday 23 May 2020 held that the 2018 Prevention of Corruption (Amendment) Act replaces Section 13(1)(d) of the original Act which did not work.

The bench of Justice Vibhu Bakhru held that the purpose of the amendment was to provide for the actions of a public servant, which appear to be against the public interest. Yet, he clarified that there was no need to apply the Amendment Act.

Brief Facts of the Case

The observations were made of a criminal appeal which was reversed by an order of a Special Judge, wherein the Appellant was convicted for misusing his position as a public servant to get the allocation of Rajhara Coal Block in favor of M/s Vini Iron and Steel Udyog Limited, with no public interest. The Appellant argued that the Prevention Corruption Act amended with effect from 26 July 2018, and under the Prevention Corruption Amendment Act, 2018 the provisions of Section 13(1)(d) were deleted. He thus argued that the charges brought against him no longer constituted an offense.

Arguments by the Appellant

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The appellant filed the applications praying for the operation contested order of 13.12.2017 passed by the trained Special Judge, convicting the appellant to criminal misconduct under sub-clauses (ii) and (iii) of section 13 read in conjunction with subsection (2) of Section 13 of the Law on the Prevention of Corruption.

The appellant wishes to contest the election of the public office, including elections to the Legislative Assembly of the State of Jharkhand. It is also claimed that he held the office of Minister of Panchayati Raj Special Arrangement.

In this case, however, the Trial Court found the appellant had misused his position as a public servant to get the allocation of the Rajhara Coal Block in favor of the M/s Vini Iron and Steel Udyog Limited with no public interest. But, Mr. Abhimanyu Bhandari on behalf of the appellant argued that there was no allegation or evidence to the effect that establish the appellant had requested any unlawful gratification. He claimed that the allegations made against the appellant no longer constitute an offense, and must be absolved by the doctrine of Beneficiary construction.

Arguments by the Respondent

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Mr. R.S Cheema appearing on behalf of the respondent stated that the provisions of Section 13(1)(d) of the Prevention Corruption need not be established. He narrated the facts as established by the learned Trial Court and submitted that the same evidence showed that Vini Iron and Steel Udyog Limited was favored by the allocation of the Coal Block to the instance of the Applicant. That the amendment law of 2018 could be extended to the appellant and the reference made to Section 6(d) of the General Clauses Act 1897, which argues that the appellant convicted before the Prevention Corruption Amendment Act came into force in 2018.

Judgment

It would not be appropriate to help a dispute by electing the appellant to any public office until he has finally been discharged. Thus, the Court decided to dismiss the filed application.


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