Friday, September 23, 2011

No leniency in graft cases: SC

New Delhi: The Supreme Court on Friday maintained a six-month jail term and Rs 500 fine on a clerk for taking a bribe of Rs 200 nearly 14 years ago and ruled there could be no judicial leniency towards people convicted in corruption cases.
A bench of Justice P Sathasivam and Justice B S Chauhan said: “In a case of corruption by public servant, quantum of amount is immaterial. Ultimately, it depends upon the conduct of the delinquent and the proof regarding demand and acceptance established by the prosecution.”
Keeping in mind a sharp rise in corruption cases in the recent times, the bench adopted a “no leniency” approach to lay down a comprehensive guideline on sentencing of convicts based on judgments of the apex court.
The main points of the guidelines are: Long delay in disposal of appeal or any other factor may not be a ground for reduction of sentence, particularly, when the law prescribes a minimum sentence In case of corruption by a public servant, quantum of amount is immaterial Merely because the accused lost his job due to conviction under the Prevention of Corruption Act may not be a ground for reduction of sentence. The Supreme Court, though enjoying wide powers under Article 142 of the Constitution, too would have to be circumspect in imposing sentence lesser than the minimum prescribed jail term Powers under Article 142 are not meant to be exercised when it may come directly in conflict with what has been expressly provided in the law.

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