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State Vs. Raghunath Patnaik - Court Judgment

LegalCrystal Citation
SubjectCriminal
CourtOrissa High Court
Decided On
Case NumberGovernment Appeal No. 36 of 1981
Judge
Reported in1985(II)OLR100
ActsPrevention of Corruption Act, 1947 - Sections 5(1) and 5(2); Indian Penal Code (IPC), 1860 - Sections 467 and 471; Evidence Act, 1872 - Sections 45 and 73
AppellantState
RespondentRaghunath Patnaik
Appellant AdvocateD.P. Sahoo, Standing Counsel
Respondent AdvocateJ.K. Rath, Adv.
DispositionAppeal dismissed
Cases ReferredMurarilal v. State of Madhya Pradesh
Excerpt:
.....such executive orders or circulars or instructions nor can they replace statutory rules. - the learned special judge has observed that it is not safe to place reliance on the sole evidence of p. state of madhya pradesh wherein their lordships have observed that it may be hazardous to base a conviction solely on the opinion of a handwriting expert, although the hazard in accepting the opinion of any expert is not because experts, in general, are unreliable witnesses-the quality of credibility or incredibility being one, which an expert shares with all other witnesses-but because all human judgment is fallible and an expert may go wrong because of some defect of observation, some error of premises or honest mistake of conclusion. 7. in the facts and circumstances of the cafe, it would..........use that these documents were forged ones. on a consideration of the prosecution evidence, the learned special judge has found that none of the charges has been brought home to the respondent and has acquitted him of the said charges. the order of acquittal recorded by the learned special judge has been assailed in this court.2. i have heard mr. d. p. sahoo, the learned standing counsel and mr. rath for the respondent.3. it would be noticed from the evidence that at the stage of investigation, a bus warrant register (ext. 20) had been seized from the house in occupation of the respondent. but as has rightly been noticed by the learned special judge, the respondent was not the sole occupant of the house and he had been staying in the house with others and all of them were absent when.....
Judgment:

B.K. Behera, J.

1. The respondent stood charged under Section 5(2) read with Section 5(l)(d). of the Prevention of Corruption Act, 1947 (hereinafter referred to as the 'Act') for obtaining pecuniary advantage from himself to an extent of Rs.2146-56 paise in the year 1975 by using forged bus warrants at different places in his capacity as a public servant while serving as a Constable attached to the Vigilance Wing of the Police Department at Sambalpur. He also stood charged under Section 467 of the Indian Penal Code (for short, the 'Code') for forging the bus warrants which were valuable securities with the intent to defraud the State Government and gain pecuniary advantage in respect of the aforesaid amount and under Section 471 of the Code for having fraudulently and dishonestly used as genuine the forged bus warrants having known and having reasons to believe at the time of such use that these documents were forged ones. On a consideration of the prosecution evidence, the learned Special Judge has found that none of the charges has been brought home to the respondent and has acquitted him of the said charges. The order of acquittal recorded by the learned Special Judge has been assailed in this Court.

2. I have heard Mr. D. P. Sahoo, the learned Standing Counsel and Mr. Rath for the respondent.

3. It would be noticed from the evidence that at the stage of investigation, a Bus Warrant Register (Ext. 20) had been seized from the house in occupation of the respondent. But as has rightly been noticed by the learned Special Judge, the respondent was not the sole occupant of the house and he had been staying in the house with others and all of them were absent when the search was conducted and the seizure was effected. The finding recorded by the trial Court that the respondent could not be said to be in exclusive possession of Ext. 20 cannot be said to be unreasonable.

4. As has been submitted by the learned counsel for both the sides, there is no evidence that the respondent had produced the warrants in question before the bus conductors who had been examined in the Court. There was thus complete absence of evidence that the respondent had gained pecuniary advantage by producing and using the bus warrants. Thus the charges under Section 5(2) read with Section 5(1) (d) of the Act and Section 471 of the Code had not been established.

5. Coming to the charge under Section 467 of the Code, there was no doubt, the evidence of P. W. 16, the Government Examiner of Questioned Documents, that the disputed writings in the bus warrants bearing Nos. 174210, 174213, 174246, 174256 and 174286 tallied with the specimen and admitted writings of the respondent, but besides the evidence of this witness, there was no other evidence in this regard. This had not been testified even by the employees of the Vigilance Wing of the Police Department working with the respondent. The learned Special Judge has observed that it is not safe to place reliance on the sole evidence of P. W. 16 in the absence of any corroborative evidence. This finding of the trial Court cannot: be said to be unreasonable and gets support from the observations made by the Supreme Court in AIR 1930 S. C. 531 : Murarilal v. State of Madhya Pradesh wherein their Lordships have observed that it may be hazardous to base a conviction solely on the opinion of a handwriting expert, although the hazard in accepting the opinion of any expert is not because experts, in general, are unreliable witnesses-the quality of credibility or incredibility being one, which an expert shares with all other witnesses-but because all human judgment is fallible and an expert may go wrong because of some defect of observation, some error of premises or honest mistake of conclusion. The science of decertification of handwriting is not so prefect, as observed by their Lordships of the Supreme Court. In appropriate crises, corroboration may be sought although there is no rule of law or rule of prudence which has crystalised into a rule of law that opinion evidence mus1' never be acted upon unless substantially corroborated, as held in the aforesaid reported case.

6. In the instant case, there was no evidence that the respondent was in exclusive possession of Ext, 20. There was no evidence either that he had himself used the bus warrants and had produced them before the bus conductors. There was no evidence other than that of P. W. 16 that the disputed writing in the warrants ware these of the respondent.

7. In the facts and circumstances of the cafe, it would not be safe, reasonable and proper to accept unreservedly the sole testimony of P. W. 16 that the disputed writings in the bus warrants were those of the respondent. Thus the charge under Section 467 of the Code had not been established.

8. For the foregoing reasons, I find no reasonable ground for any interference by this Court in an appeal against acquittal.

9. In the result, the appeal fails and is dismissed.


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