M.H. Beg, J.
1. The appellant Prakash Chand Jain took charge on 8.3.1961 as the Cane Development Inspector, a public servant, at Meerut. He was also the ex-officio joint Secretary of the Cane Development Council of Maliana in 1961, and, in this capacity, be had to deal with cases in which coltivators applied for subsidies for constructing tube well for irrigating their fields. It was the policy of the Government to encourage sugarcane cultivation by granting subsidies. Every applicant for a subsidy bad to deposit Rs. 300 as security at the time of making the application. Applications could be granted by the Maliana Council. The subsidy could go upto Rs. 2000 for amounts spent on constructing a well upto Rs. 12,000. The well to be subsidized had to be constructed within the period fixed by the Council. It has to be inspected and the work done had to be approved and vouchers of expenses incurred had to be checked before the Council could pass a resolution for the payment of the subsidy. The subsidies had to be disbursed through the appellant as the Joint Secretary of the Council.
2. Khazan Singh (P.W. 1), a cultivator, had applied on 15.7.1960 for the grant of a subsidy to him for constructing a tube well in village Salarpur where he resided. He had made the required deposit of security money and had to complete the work by 15.2.1961. On 28.2.1961, he had filed the vouchers for expenses upto Rs. 8642-82 P. and had applied for the approval of his tube well after inspection. The time given to Khazan Singh had been extended upto 31.3.1961 on which date the vouchers were checked by Sri R.K. Bharadwaj (P.W. 8).
On that very date, that is to say on 31.3.1961, the Maliana Council had passed a resolution sanctioning the payment of the subsidies to a number of persons, including Khazan Singh, provided the work was found in order. The resolution had been passed on the recommendation of Gay an Chand Supervisor and the appellant as the Joint Secretary of the Council. Sri Gupta (P.W. 6), the Senior Cane Development Inspector, had, however, raised certain fresh objections when the case for the disbursement of the amount to Khazan Singh was put up before him after the inspection of Khazan Bingh's tuba well on 31.3.1961 by Sri Mathur, the Cane Production Inspector. The prosecution case is that Khazan Singh went to the appellant as a result of his difficulties and the appellant told him that Khazan Singh will have to pay Rs. 500 if he wanted payment of his subsidy a) a result of the resolution of 31.3.1961. If a subsidy was not shown to have been paid by 31.3.1961 the subsidy granted would lapse for that year. Hence, the desperate hurry to complete everything by 31.3.1961, and, when that could not be done, the cultivator was left at the mercy of the officers in the Cane Development Department. These officers then managed to show that the payment of the subsidy was made on 31.3.1961 even though the cheques were actually disbursed later. In the case of Khazan Singh the cheque was alleged to have been handed over on 19.4.1961 although shown to have been paid on 31.3.1961.
It is alleged that the appellant showed Khazan Singh the way in which the objections to the payment of the subsidy to him could be removed and that Khazan Singh was made to pay Rs. 200 immediately and promised to pay Rs. 300 after, wards as a consideration for services rendered. It is alleged that the receipt for the security deposit (Ex. Ka. 1) was actually signed over a revenue stamp by Khazan Singh and handed over to the appellant on 31.3.1961 when the agreement for the payment of the balance of Rs. 300 towards the bribe was arrived at Khuzan Singh, however, felt very disgruntled over having to pay Rs. 300 more after having paid Rs. 200. He alleged that he went to the appellant next day and wanted the appellant to accept Rs. 200 more only, but the appellant agreed, after bargaining, to reduce the bribe by not more than 50 so that Khazan Singh had to agree to pay Rs. 250 more within a few days.
3. As Khazan Singh felt very dissatisfied with the whole affair, he went to Ranvir Singh (PW. 2), who was residing at Meerut, and informed him of the demand made by the appellant, ON Ranbir Singh's advice, an application (Ex Ka. 3) was drafted and submitted to the Anti-Corruption Dy. S.P. (Complaints), Sri Sheoraj Singh (P.W. 10), who arranged a trap to eat A the appellant red handed According to the prosecution case Khazan Singh went to the office of the accused, inside the Maliana Sugar Mill at about 4 p.m. on 25.4.1961, and after about an hour, came out with the appellant on a public road and moved towards a railway crossing a short distance away after taking a packet of notes for Rs. 250 from his brother Bhagwan Singh (P.W. 3 who was waiting at the gate of the Mill. As Khazan Singh proceeded with the appellant towards the level crossing, followed by Bhagwan Singh (P.W. 3), the other witnesses of the trap, Sheoraj Singh (P.W. 10) the Dy. S.P. in plain clothes. Ranbir Singh (P.W. 2), and Rukhan Singh (P.W. 4) came near and followed closely behind go that they could overhear the conversation between Khazan Singh and the appellant clearly.
It is alleged that they heard Khazan Singh telling the appellant that he had already paid Rs. 200 and that the appellant had been good enough to let off Rs. 50 so that Rs. 250, which was the balance left, waa being paid to the appellant. Khazan Singh aho asked the appellant to return hia signed security deposit receipt (Ex Ka. 1). It is alleged that the appellant; took the bundle of Rs. 10 notes, amounting to Us 250, and put it in the left pocket of his bush shirt. Immediately after that, Shecraj Singh (P.W. 10) came up and Caught hold of the hand of the appellant and revealed his identity. It is alleged that Phool Singh, constable in uniform, who had been directed to keep himself at acme distance on She busy road in front of the mill then came up and the jeep of the Dy. S.P. was brought from across the railway line. The appellant, who had been arrested, was made to sit in the jeep. It is alleged that the recovery memo (Ex. Ka. 4), in which the ten rupee notes totaling Rs. 250/- are mentioned individually by their numbers, and the security deposit receipt (Ex. Ka. 1) and a sum of Rs. 4916/-, in addition are all shown as having been recovered from the appellant, was prepared on the spot and a copy of it given to the appellant who signed the recovery memo.
The numbers of the ten rupee notes mentioned in the recovery memo tallied with the numbers already taken down in the application (Ex. Ka 3) made before the trap was put into operation. The Binge Co-ordination Officer of the Co-operative Case Development Council in Maliana, Sri Babu Ram Singh (P.W. 5), who had been sent for, by means of a telephone call, actually came to the spot and saw the writing work going on and was informed of what hid actually taken place. The appellant said nothing in front of him in answer to the charge. This was the prosecution case against the appellant which has been believed by the learned Special Judge who tried it. The appellant was convicted under Section 161, I.P.C. und sentenced to two year's R.I. and to pay a fine of Rs. 500/-, and. in default, to undergo further R.I. for a period of six months. The appellate was also convicted under Section 5(2) of the Prevention of Corruption Act and sentenced to undergo two years R.I. Both the sentences were directed to run concurrently.
4. The appellant denied practically every allegation made by the prosecution witnesses relating to the preparation for and the settlement of and the actual payment of the bribe. The appellant gave a very extraordinary account of how he was arrested after he came out of the gate of the mill on 25.4.1961 at the time alleged by the prosecution. He stated that Khazan Singh met him with another person at the gate of the mill and wished him. The appellant alleged that after that he proceeded towards Meerut which meant towards the level crossing. He stated that he then saw the jeep of the Dy. S.P. (Complaints) standing on the left side of the road with the Dy. S.P. Sri Sheoraj Singh, and his clerk Sri Phool Singh in it. The appellant said that he saluted the Dy. S.P. and proceeded further.
He stated that Khazen Singh came running from behind him and caught hold of his hand and wanted to thrust something in his picket, but he flushed that thing aside so that it fell on the ground. After that, the Dy. S.P. and his clerk Phool Singh are alleged to have come along and picked up what had fallen on the ground. On examination, it was found that there were currency notes with a paper between them which appeared to be like a departmental voucher. After that the Dy S.P. and Phool Singh are alleged to have taken the appellant to the police station Civil Lines straightway. The appellant stated that no writing work was done at the spot and that the recovery memo was prepared at the police station and that his signature was obtained on it under a threat. He did not state what the threat was.
The appellant also stated that Shri Babu Ram Singh (P.W. 5) did not reach the spot at all. The appellant also denied having had the application (Ex. Ka. 2) or the declaration (Ex. 16) of Khazan Singh signed by Khazan Singh on 19.4.1961, and antedated to 31.3.1961. There were certain interpolations and alterations in these documents. The appellant denied having Been these and asserted that he had signed these documents on 31.3.1961 in the ordinary coerce. The appellant also denied that he had obtained the receipt Ex. Ka. 1 dated 31.3.1961 for the security deposit with Khazan Singh's signature on it. He suggested that the clerks of the Cane Development Office were hostile to him because he had reported against them and that they had been threatened by the police. He also alleged that Sri Ram Bahadur Gupta (P.W. 6), Secretary of the Cane Development Council, bad been threatened by the Dy. S.P. (Complaints).
5. The learned Special Judge gave a very detailed account of the evidence given by each prosecution and defence witness in Betting out the cases of the two sides. The learned Judge practically repeated this process in dealing with the criticisms levelled against various parts of the evidence of both sides. The result was that the reasons for which the learned Special Judge accepted the prosecution case in preference to the defence case, which are quite cogent, are rather scattered. The grounds upon which Mr. C.S. Saran, learned Counsel for the appellant has, with his usual ability, assailed the prosecution case and the view taken by the learned Special Judge may now be dealt with one after another.
6. The first contention was that it is incredible that any bribe should be demanded for what had actually been done already and that it is even more difficult to believe that any bribe should be paid at all on 25.4.1961 for a transaction which was already complete by 19.4.1961 when the cheque for the subsidy was finally handed over to Khazan Singh even if the prosecution evidence that the cheque was handed over on 19.4.1961 is accepted as correct. It may be noted that Section 161, I.P.C. requires that a gratification other than legal remuneration should be either accepted or obtained or agreed to be accepted or attempted to be obtained
as a motive or reward for doing or forbearing to do any official act or for showing or forbearing to show, in exercise of his official functions, favour or disfavour to any person or for rendering or attempting to render any service or disservice to any person...or with any public servant....
An offer or an attempt to obtain or the actual obtaining of a 'reward' is enough. A reward is generally given after a service has been rendered. Section 161, I.P.C is not confined in its scope to rewards agreed upon or accepted for services to be rendered. It covers services which may have been already rendered. Thus, the law provides for the kind of agreement alleged between Khazan Singh and the appellant and the kind of reward actually said to have been paid.
Regarding the likelihood of such an agreement or payment, I may point out that the prosecution case is that the agreement was arrived at a time when Khazan Singh was made to believe that he will not be able to obtain the Subsidy unless he paid. The attempt to obtain the payment was made before the objections raised by Sri Gupta (P.W. 6) had been removed with the help of the appellant if the prosecution case is believed. The appellant is also alleged to have taken Rs. 200/- immediately as payment for rendering services in connection with his official duties for which no legal remuneration from Khazan Singh could be demanded.
10. After discussing the evidence and holding that Khazan Singh's version of prior payment of Rs. 200 and later of Rs. 250 as bribe to the appellant as testified by Shri Sheoraj Singh, Dy. S.P. appeared reliable, the judgment proceeded :) Mr. C.S. Saran has tried to rely on Madan Mohan Singh v. State of U.P. : AIR1954SC637 where it was held that a Magistrate whom the accused knew very well, as proved by unassailable documentary evidence, must have been recognised when be was introduced to the accused even if the Magistrate had changed his clothes. Their Lordships of the Supreme Court did not accept the allegation that the accused could have accepted a bribe before such a person if the accused knew him so well. That case has been, very rightly, distinguished by the trial court on facts from the case before me. Here, the appellant has not proved facts which could make the reasoning underlying Madan Mohan's case : AIR1954SC637 (supra) applicable at all. On the other hand, proved facts make Madan Mohan's case : AIR1954SC637 (supra) entirely inapplicable.
11. The third contention put forward on behalf of the appellant was that there is nothing more than the uncorroborated testimony of the witnesses of the trap to support the finding that the money was actually taken by the appellant as alleged by the prosecution. Reliance was placed on State of Bihar v. Basavan Singh : 1958CriLJ976 for the contention that such evidence should not be accepted without corroboration. In that case, their Lordships of the Supreme Court, differing from the view taken by a learned Judge of the Patna High Court, held that there was no universal or inflexible rule that the evidence of the witnesses of the trapping party must be discarded unless independent corroboration is available. Their Lordships were pleased to hold that the trap witnesses could be treated on a footing similar to that of partisan or interested witnesses as they would be concerned to see that the trap succeeds.
It was held there that the evidence of trap witnesses may be tested in the same manner as that of other witnesses who may be deemed to be interested or partisan. In the particular case before their Lordships, it was held that the statements of two search witnesses, who were not members of the trapping party, corroborated the statements of the witnesses belonging to the trapping party inasmuch as these search witnesses also stated what the trap witnesses had stated about a crumpled ten rupee note found at the spot. The particular note had been initialed of an Anti-Corruption Officer. In that case, the accused had tried to throw away the money when surprised by the officers belonging to the trapping party. The crumpled note was the evidence of the fact that the accused had tried to throw away the money when the officers had surprised him, but that evidence was treated as sufficient to corroborate the statements of the trap witnesses that the money had actually been passed on to the accused before it was attempted to be thrown away. In other words, a circumstance, which indirectly supported the material parts of the testimony of trap witnesses, was held to be sufficient corroboration.
12.13. In the case before me, the rule relating to corroboration should, in my opinion, be applied. It was attempted to be shown that the trap witnesses, apart from the interest they may have had in the success of the trap, are also unreliable for other reasons. The appellant stated that he bad to take some proceedings against Ombir Singh and his brother Rambir Singh under Section 107/117 Criminal P.C. He stated that Ombir Singh was the son-in-law of Khazan Singh. It was suggested that Khazan Singh (P. W. 1) and the witness Rambir Singh (P.W. 2) were addressed as uncles by Rambir Singh and Ombir Singh. The appellant filed a copy of the application he had made for proceedings under Section 107, Criminal P.C. on 27.9.1960, but this application shows that Ombir was not a party to the pro. ceedings at all. The application was against Shyamlal and Rambir and ended in a compromise on 26.10.1960 so that the proceedings had been dropped.
It appears that the appellant had made a false statement that he had taken proceedings against Ombir simply in order to bring in Khazan Singh who admitted that his daughter has married Ombir after the bribery case had started against the appellant. Even if Ombir was, as the appellant alleged, a brother of Rambir, it is not shown what relationship with or interest in the two young men Ranbir Sing a (P.W. 2) could have. Khazan Singh also could not conceivably help a brother of his son-in-law by implicating the appellant falsely. The copy of the order of 25.10.1960, in proceedings under Section 107, Criminal P.C. filed by the appellant shows that the relations between the parties were no longer had.
Against Rukan Singh, the appellant alleged that be had a wine shop in partnership with Bhagwan Singh (P.W. 3), the brother of Khazan Singh. This allegation also remained unproved. It was, however, admitted by Sheoraj Singh (P. W. 10) that he had been fined Rs. 200 for 'forgery' of a document. It is not proved what offence the Dy. S.P. had committed and when. It must have been some technical offence if he had been only fined Rs. 200. It is not desirable that any Anti-Corruption Officer, employed by the State, should have a blemish of this kind oft his record. In view of their position as trap, witnesses and the allegations made against the trap witnesses and the admission by Sheoraj Singh that he had been convicted for an offence described as 'forgery', it would certainly be prudent to require corroboration, by some independent evidence, of the payment of money to the appellant as alleged by the prosecution.
14. The more serious part of the appellant's contention was that the evidence treated as corroborative by the trial court could not really be called corroborative of the allegation that payment was actually made to the appellant.
(After discussing the prosecution evidence the judgment proceeded): - I find it impossible to believe that all these witnesses derived from three different sources-employees of the Cane Development Department, including superior officers and subordinate of the appellant, members of the public, including a cultivator, and the Dy. S.P. would combine to implicate the appellant falsely. No rational or intelligible ground for such a conspiracy to injure the appellant could be put forward. It may be observed that the receipt (Ex. Ka 1) was duly proved to have been aligned by Khazan Singh and obtained by the appellant and then kept by the appellant with himself presumably in order that it may be handed over to Khazan Singh on payment of the balance of the bribe. The evidence of the preparation of this receipt given by Gyan Chand and Bam Kumar, contrail rioting the statements of the appellant, certainly connects the appellant with one of the means employed in extracting Rs. 250/- from Khazan Singh. This important piece of corroborative evidence, whose existence is proved by sources independent of the witnesses of the trap, clearly establishes the connection of the appellant with the crime. I may point out what their Lordships of the Supreme Court held in Basawan Singh's case (supra), after examining the rules laid down in King v. Baskerville 1916 (2) KB 658 and Rameshwar v. State of Rajasthan : 1952CriLJ547 .
Corroboration need not be direct evidence that the accused committed the crime it is sufficient even though it is merely circumstantial evidence of his connection with the crime.
15. In addition to the receipt (Ex. Ka 1) Which is strong piece of corroboration of the connection of the appellant with the Grime, there is also the evidence of Babu Ram Singh (P.W. 5) who arrived at the spot when the recovery memo was being prepared. The appellant had denied having seen Babu Ram Singh there and had alleged that he was taken to the police station and made to sign the recovery memo under a threat. The story given by the appellant was one which, if true, would shock every individual with any sense of Justice or fair play. If what the appellant stated were correct, it meant that he was actually caught by Khazan Singh before the eyes of the Dy. S.P. (Complaints) and others and that a11 of them had conspired to fabricate evidence to implicate him and after that the appellant had been made to sign a recovery memo under a threat at the police station. It is impossible to believe that the appellant would not have raised a hue and cry if anything approaching such an outrage had occurred. He would certainly have informed his superior officer Sri Babu Ram Singh (P.W. 5) when he met him.
16. In his statement at the trial the appellant had denied that Babu Ram Singh came at all to the scene or that writing work was done there, although Babu Ram Singh, who had no reason to depose against the appellant had deposed that he went to the spot and saw writing work in progress. The appellant stated that Babu Ram Singh was also hostile to him as the appellant had given same statements in an enquiry against Babu Ram Singh. This allegation about his participation in some enquiry against Babu Ram Singh remained utterly unsubstantiated. The appellant, however, himself admitted, when he was examined in this Court, under Section 342, Criminal P.C. that he had met Babu Ram Singh there and that Babu Ram Singh had asked him whether he had taken the money as the Dy. S.P. had complained.
The appellant then went on to state that ha told Babu Ram Singh that the allegations of the By. 8. P. were wrong and that no money had been recovered from him. This question was put to the appellant in this Court because the trial Court had relied upon its inference that he had kept quiet when Babu Ram Singh had arrived on the spot. The trial Court's inference was based upon the evidence of Babu Ram Singh who had neither deposed in his examination-in-chief nor was asked under cross-examination whether the appellant had slid anything to him at the spot. It was contended on behalf of the appellant that his silence could not be used against him without even putting it to him under Section 342, Criminal P.C. It was for this reason that the appellant was given an opportunity in this Court of meeting the inference drawn by the trial Court from the evidence of Babu Ram Singh. In giving his answer, the appellant contradicted his previous statement in the trial Court where he had pretended that Babu Ram Singh did not come to the spot at all and that he did not meet him.
17. Mr. C.S. Saran relied upon Ghura v. Emperor AIR 1942 All 47 to contend that the appellant's silence could not be used as a corroborative circumstance at all. I do not find than such an extreme proposition was laid down in that case. On the other hand, in that case, Braund J. modified his earlier view as to inference from mere silence and adopted the statement found in King-Emperor v. U. Damapala AIR 1937 Rang 88 where the Chief Justice had observed as follows:
The degree of weight to be attached to the silence of an accused person in such circumstances depends upon the nature of the case. Man; factors must be taken into account in assessing it and do hard and feat rule can be laid down. Illustrations which may afford a guide can be found in the cases in Rex v. Feigenbaun (1919) 1 KB 431 Rex v. Whitehead (1929) 1 KB 99 and Rex v. Tate (1908) 2 KB 680. Care must be taken in all cases not to put too high a value on the absence of an immediate denial unless the surrounding facts point unequivocally to the of elusion that any accused person, whether educated or ignorant, cautious or impulsive, voluble or taciturn, would have felt bound to make a rejoinder in view of the particular charge against him and in the particular circumstances prevailing when he was mace aware of it. It is not permissible to arrive at an adverse verdict on the strength of opinions formed as to the conduct of an accused person or to allow the silence of an accused person to supplement a case for the prosecution which at he conclusion of the evidence beard on both sides is too weak to justify conviction : 41 Gal WN 65 : AIR 1936 PC 289 Judgment of Lord Roche at page 78 (of Cal WN) : (at p. 299 of AIR).
I feel bound to observe that the appellant, who made his statement before me, did not appear to be at all a stupid or frightened individual who would be unable to protest hid such a shocking and outrageously false implication as he wanted to put across, been really perpetrated against him. The appellant was a Government servant and seemed to possess considerable self-confidence and intelligence and not an unimpressive personality. He was not an ignorant and helpless individual. He would have complained to the authorities if he had been the victim of such a seriously disturbing find bold assault upon him followed by false arrest and imprisonment and implication upon a serious charge as h would, like the Courts to believe. I am afraid that is, too great a strain upon one's credulousness to I believe, after seeing the appellant, that he could, possibly be a passive and silent victim of such gross injustice and wrong.
18. The conduct of the appellant in not complaining can, in my opinion, be taken into account. I do not think that his assertion that a he complained to Ram Singh could be believed when Ram Singh was not even asked about it. Moreover, under the circumstances alleged by the appellant, more drastic action than a mere denial before his superior officer would be natural to expect from an individual of ordinary common sense and prudence. If the appellant had really been a victim of the kind of frame up which he wanted the Courts to accept, involving the commission of a crime by the Dy. S.P. and the other witnesses of the trap, he ought to have reported the matter in writing. In the circumstances alleged by the appellant himself, he world be under e duty to complain.
19. In addition to the above mentioned corroborative evidence, I find that the appellant, far from offering any plausible or acceptable explanations of facts and circumstances a peering against him, including the receipt of Rs. 250/- by him, has tried to bury his head in the sand of patently false denials providing coping stones to the unshaken edifice of the prosecution case. On the authority of Parshadi v. State of U.P. : 1957CriLJ328 false denials of an accused I person can be taken into account in arriving at an adverse inference against him, although by themselves and individually, like the mere silence of an accused, they cannot have a very damaging effect.
20. The fourth and the last set of contentions of the appellant's counsel raised questions relating to the quantum and character of proof required to raise and to meet the presumption under Section 4 of the Prevention of Corruption Act which provides:
4(1) Where in any trial of an offence punishable under Section 161 or Section 165 or 165-A of the Indian Penal Code it is proved that an accused person has scarped or obtained of has agreed to accept or attempted to obtain, for himself or for any other person, any gratification (other than legal remuneration or any valuable thing from any person, it shall be presumed unless the contrary is proved that he accepted or obtained, or agreed to accept or attempted to obtain, that gratification or that valuable thing, as the case may be, as a motive or reward such as is mentioned in the said Section 161, or, as the case may be without consideration or for a consideration which he knows to be inadequate.
I am unable to accept the contention of the appellant's counsel that a change of view or emphasis in the interpretation of the above mentioned presumption by the Supreme Court is discernible between Dhanwant Rai v. State of Maharashtra : 1964CriLJ437 and a more recent decision, Banamali Konar v. State of Bihar Criminal Appeal No. 154 of 1964 decided on 2.8.1965 by the Supreme Court, where the view taken in R. v. Carr Briant (1943) 2 All ER 156 about a similar provision in the Prevention of Corruption Act of England was approved. In Dhanwant Rai's case : 1964CriLJ437 (supra) their Lordships pointed out that an optional presumption of fact which arose from recent possession of stolen property under Section 114, Evidence Act, in the absence of any reasonable explanation, could be repelled by a reasonable explanation only, as held by the Privy Council in Otto George v. the King AIR 1918 PC 211 but the very specific statutory and obligatory presumption of law under Section 4 of the Prevention of Corruption Act could not be so repelled without actual proof of facts explaining the acceptance of a gratification. In Banamali's case Criminal Appeal No. 154 of 1964 D/- 2.8.1965 (SC)(supra) the nature of facts to be proved to repel the statutory presumption was indicated. The two case dealt with two different though allied matters. There seems no cod diet whatsoever between the views expressed in the two oases.
21. The appellant's counsel also referred to Harbhajan Singh v. State of Punjab : 1966CriLJ82 and to Bala Prasad v. State of M.P. : AIR1961MP241 simply because there is citation there of Carr Briant's case 1943 2 All ER 156 (Supra). These cases deal with the burden which the accused his to discharge of 'bringing a case within' an exception from criminal liability as laid down by Section 105, Evidence Act. This burden may be satisfied by merely giving proof of circumstances which raise a doubt whether the accused was entitled to an exception. Earning of such a doubt may be enough to dispel the initial presumption, found in Section 105, Evidence Act, that circumstances bringing the casa within an exception do not exist. This approach to the burden of proof and the presumption under 8. 105, Evidence Act, together with a view of the principle o Benefit of Doubt in Criminal Oases as really covered by the requirements of prudence embodied in Section 8 of the Evidence Act, could perhaps avoid a great deal of unnecessary controversy about the exact meaning and effect of Section 105, Evidence Act.
It must however, be understood, as their Lordships of the Supreme Court pointed out in Dhanwant Rai's case : 1964CriLJ437 (Supra), that a statutory obligatory presumption of law stands upon a different footing from an optional presumption of fact. And, as pointed out in Parbhoe v. Emperor : AIR1941All402 , there as no burden upon the prosecution of negativing all possible exceptions to criminal liability even though the prosecution has to prove its case beyond all reasonable doubt and the accused may satisfy even his statutory burden, in the estimation of a prudent man, by giving enough proof to tilt the balance of probabilities, or of the doubts which emerge from a consideration of all the probabilities and improbabilities, in his favour.
22. No detailed or further discussion of the nature of the presumption under Section 4 of the Prevention of Corruption Act, as compared with other presumptions of law or fact, is necessary because, in the present case, the appellant has not even attempted an explanation of the acceptance of Rs. 250/- by him. His denial of acceptance cannot be held to bean 'explanation' of the satisfactorily proved acceptance. And, once the acceptance of Rs. 250/- by the appellant is proved beyond all reasonable doubt, as it has been here, a very specific burden is placed by Section 4 of the Prevention of Corruption Act on the accuse 1. That specific burden has not even been attempted to be discharged by the appellant. As the acceptance of Rs. 250/- by the appellant, as deposed by the prosecution witnesses, is established by the evidence of witnesses whose accounts are consistent, credible, and amply corroborated by other facts and circumstances, the slight vagueness and uncertainty in the evidence of Khazan Singh as to precisely when the payment of bribe was settled, would not matter.
28. Another question, which was argued was that the trial court had used the appellant's signature upon the recovery memo as an admission of the recovery of the notes. I am not sure that the trial court went quite so far as that. There is no doubt that, in view of the above mentioned presumption under Section 4 of the Prevention of Corruption Act, the admission of recovery of money could practically amount to a confession of guilt by the appellant made while in police custody. The recovery memo could not be need as evidence of any such confession against the accused. It could not be used as embodying any statement by the accused during investigation. The fact that it was prepared and its copy given to the appellant could be used to prove the regularity and propriety of the recovery proceedings. I have, therefore, not used the signature of the appellant on the recovery memo as any admission of the actual acceptance of money by the appellant which is amply proved by other evidence.
24. Exclusion of the fact that the appellant signed such a recovery memo, even as an acknowledgment of the receipt of its copy, could hot effect the findings in this case. It was, however, noteworthy that the appellant seems to have felt so perturbed by the presence of his signature on the recovery memo that he stated, out of his own accord, under Sectopm 343, Criminal P.C. that he had signed the recovery memo under a 'threat' at the police station, although his signature on the memo was not even put to him separately. Therefore, the signing and its explanation, as parts 'f the conduct of the appellant, had to be considered.
25. The result is that I uphold the findings of the trial court and affirm the convictions and concurrent sentences of the appellant who is on bail. He will surrender forthwith and serve out the remaining period of the sentences.