HC refuses to quash trial court proceedings in bribery case

Excelsior Correspondent

Srinagar, Aug 18: High Court has refused to quash criminal proceedings against Patwari in the bribery case and directed the court to decide the case within one month.
The petitioner-Abdul Qayoom Dar has challenged proceedings pending before the Special Judge, Anti-Corruption Srinagar arising out of FIR No.28/209 for offences under Prevention of Corruption Act and registered with the Police Station, Vigilance Organization, Kashmir.
A complaint was lodged against him on October 2009 by one Wahid Jeelani Dar stating therein that he had approached the petitioner-accused, who was posted as Patwari Halqa Kralpora at the relevant time, for obtaining a report regarding the land to be mortgaged to J&K Bank Branch Nowgam for the purpose of raising loan.
It was alleged in the complaint that the Patwari demanded a bribe of Rs 2000 for furnishing the requisite report but the same was negotiated at an amount of Rs 1000. On the basis of this complaint, the FIR came to be registered and a trap was laid against him. During the trap proceedings he was found to have demanded and accepted a bribe of Rs 1000 from the complainant and after investigation of the case, offences were found against him.
After obtaining the requisite sanction for launching prosecution against him from the competent authority, the challan was laid before the trial court on 12.03.2010. The trial of the case was completed and the defence evidence was over, the petitioner-accused approached the court to challenge the proceedings before court below.
The counsel appearing for the accused has argued that whatever may be the reasons for delay, the benefit has to go to the accused. “I am afraid such a submission cannot be accepted because only if it is shown, that the prosecution was responsible for the delay either on account of their negligence or for the reason that it did so intentionally for any oblique motive, that the accused can get benefit of the delay”, Justice Sanjay Dhar said while dismissing the plea of the Pathwari seeking quashing of trial court proceedings.
Court said the petitioner-accused has led evidence in defence and thereafter he has voluntarily chosen not to lead any further evidence as such it is not a case where on account of delay in conclusion of the trial the petitioner-accused has been prejudiced in putting up his defence. “In fact, even in his pleadings, the petitioner has not whispered anything on this aspect of the matter. The petitioner has, therefore, failed to discharge his burden of showing that due to delay in trial of the case, he has suffered any prejudice”, court said.
The court added that the trial of the challan in question has been completed and the case is set down for final arguments and the accused has all along, during the trial of the case, remained on bail. If at all he is innocent, it is only upon the delivery of the judgment by the trial court, the truth will come out.
“Thus, on consideration of the facts and circumstances for and against the petitioner, this Court is of the opinion that quashing the proceedings against the petitioner at this final stage would not be just and proper. There is no merit in this petition. The same is, accordingly, dismissed. The trial court is directed to decide the case within a period of one month from the date of receipt of the record”, the court concluded.