July 16, 2018
Case name: Tarsem Lal Chandla v. State of Himachal Pradesh
Date of Judgment: July 12, 2018
In the case, the Apex Court established criminal liability of both the appellants for misappropriation of construction material which was to be used for public purpose. The Court in the case specifically notes that consideration like retirement and health problem of the accused cannot exonerate them from criminal liability under the Prevention of Corruption Act.
In the case two appeals have been filed before the Supreme Court, against High Court’s order, whereby the High Court convicted both appellants under Section 120 B of the Indian Penal Code, 1860 and Section 13(2) of the Prevention of Corruption Act, 1988. Here it would be relevant to mention that the Trial Court had exonerated both appellants on the ground that by efflux of time both the accused appellants have retired from service and one of them, namely, Attar Singh had severe health problems.
The respondent in the case alleged that the appellants who were public servants at the relevant time had misappropriated raw material which was to be used for construction of a school building.
While the Trial Court acquitted the appellants, the High Court in appeal held them liable for the said crime on the ground of material available on record.
In appeal, the Supreme Court upheld the High Court’s order while noting that in view of the material available on record, the High Court was justified in sentencing the appellants. The Apex Court also observed that the Trial Court erred in acquitting the appellants considered the factor that by efflux of time both the accused appellants have retired from service and one of them, namely, Attar Singh had severe health problem. In this context, the Supreme Court held that such consideration would not be a relevant consideration in determining the criminal liability of an accused, particularly, for an offence under the Prevention of Corruption Act, 1988.
The entire case can be accessed here.