Supreme Court
Landmark Case: Neeraj Dutta Vs. State(GNCTD).
[2023] 2 SCR 997
A trap was laid by the security agencies for the accused.The appelant demanded a bribe of 10,000 which was paid by the complainant.
A special court convicted the appellant u/s 7 of the prevention of corrution act, 1978 stating that there was sufficient circumstantial evidence to convict the accused.The High Court upheld the conviction of the accused.
The legal issue was ,”Whether the conviction was valid?” to
The Supreme Court held that apart from the evidence of the shadow witness , no evidence was produced by the prosecution for proving that the appellant had demanded the bribe from the accused.It was impossible to infer that the appellant had demanded illegal gratification.Everydemand for payment of money is not a demand for gratification.No facts were produced by prosection regarding the demand for illegal gratification by the accused.
The ingredients for the offense u/s 7 of the PC Act were not established and thus the accused was exonerated of charges.
“The offer by the bribe giver and the demand by the public servant respectively have to be proved by the prosecution as a fact in issue. In other words, mere acceptance or receipt of an illegal gratification without anything more would not make it an offence under Section 7 or Section 13(1)(d), (i) and (ii) respectively of the Act. Therefore, under Section 7 of the Act, in order to bring home the offence, there must be an offer which emanates from the bribe giver which is accepted by the public servant which would make it an offence. Similarly, a prior demand by the public servant when accepted by the bribe giver and in turn there is a payment made which is received by the public servant, would be an offence of obtainment under Section 13(1)(d) and (i) and (ii) of the Act.

By aor.sanjivnarang@gmail.com

Sanjiv Narang Adv. is an Advocate on Record in the Supreme Court of India. His qualifications include an LLB from University of Delhi and a Masters degree in Personnel Management from Panjab University,Chandigarh.In his more than 3 decades of experience, he has practiced law at the District, High Court and Supreme Court levels.He also has more than a decade of experience in the field of Management. He is the author of two books namely Laws for Women in India and Innovation, Why What and How.