Tag Archives: conviction

Moral Turpitude – Meaning of

Moral Turpitude as defined in the Black’s Law Dictionary is as follows:

“The act of baseness, vileness, or the depravity in the private and social duties which man owes to his fellow man, or to society in general, contrary to accepted and customary rule of right and duty between man and man.”

“Implies something immoral in itself regardless of it being punishable by law”; restricted to the gravest offences, consisting of felonies, infamous crimes and those that are malum in se and disclose a depraved mind.”

According to Bouvier’s Law Dictionary, ‘Moral Turpitude’ is:

        “An act of baseness, vileness or depravity in the private and social duties which a man owes to his fellow men or to society in     general, contrary to the accepted and customary rule of right and duty between man and man.”?

        Burton Legal Thesaurus defines ‘Moral Turpitude’ as :

        “Bad faith, bad repute, corruption, defilement, delinquency, discredit, dishonor, shame, guilt, knavery, misdoing, perversion, shame, ice, wrong.”

       The other important factors that are to be kept in mind to conclude that an offence involves moral turpitude are :- the person who commits the offence; the person against whom it is committed; the manner and circumstances in which it is alleged to have been committed; and the values of the society. (Jorabhai Hirabhai Rabari v. District Development Officer, Mehsana, AIR 1996 Guj 3) According to the National Incident – Based Reporting System (NIBRS), a crime data collection system used in the United States of America, each offence belongs to one of the three categories which are: crimes against persons, crimes against property, and crimes against society. Crimes against persons include murder, rape, and assault where the victims are always individuals. The object of crimes against property, for example, robbery and burglary is to obtain money, property, or some other benefits. Crimes against society for example gambling, prostitution, and drug violations, represent society’s prohibition against engaging in certain types of activities. Conviction of any alien of a crime involving moral turpitude is a ground for deportation under the Immigration Law in the United States of America. To qualify as a crime involving moral turpitude for such purpose, it requires both reprehensible conduct and scienter, whether with specific intent, deliberateness, willfulness or recklessness, Cristoval Silva – Trevina 241 & N Dec 687 (AG 2008). State Bank of India v. P. Soupramaniane, 2019 (2) ESC 344.

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Departmental and Criminal Proceedings – Are Different

The law is fairly well settled. Acquittal by a criminal court would not debar an employer from exercising power in accordance with the Rules and Regulations in force. The two proceedings, criminal and departmental, are entirely different. They operate in different fields and have different objectives. Whereas the object of criminal trial is to inflict appropriate punishment on the offender, the purpose of enquiry proceedings is to deal with the delinquent departmentally and to impose penalty in accordance with the service rules. In a criminal trial, incriminating statement made by the accused in certain circumstances or before certain officers is totally inadmissible in evidence. Such strict rules of evidence and procedure would not apply to departmental proceedings. The degree of proof which is necessary to order a conviction is different from the degree of proof necessary to record the commission of delionquency. The rule relating to appreciation of evidence in the two proceedings is also not similar. In criminal law, burden of proof is on the prosecution and unless the prosecution is able to prove the guilt of the accused “beyond reasonable doubt”, he cannot be convicted by a court of law. In a departmental enquiry, on the other hand, penalty can be imposed on the delinquent officer on a finding recorded on the basis of “preponderance of probability”. Acquittal by the Trial Court, therefore, does not ipso facto, absolve the employee from the liability under the disciplinary jurisdiction. Om Prakash Singh v. State Bank of India, 2016 (150) FLR 939.

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Employment Law – Double Jeopardy

The concept of double jeopardy, to some extent, is allergic to service law. The Supreme Court has made it clear in as many cases as one can think of (a) that imposition of a punishment and the denial of promotion did not amount to double jeopardy and (b) that the conviction by a criminal court and the disciplinary proceedings initiated on the basis of conduct which led to the conviction or on pure questions of misconduct, did not amount to double jeopardy. Reference in this regard may be had to a Full Bench judgment of the Madras High Court reported in the case of Manikandan and others v. Chairman, Tamil Nadu Uniformed Services, Recruitment Board, Chennai and Others, (2008) 2 MLJ 1203.

In the case of R. Viswan v. Union of India, (1983) 3 SCC 401, the issue of double jeopardy was discussed and in that case Government servant was punished for the same misconduct both under the Army Act as well as under Central Government Rules, and it was held that, two proceedings under the army Act and the Central Government Rules operate in two different fields though the crime or the misconduct might arise out of one and the same Act. The Martial Court proceedings deals with the penal aspect of misconduct while proceedings under the Central Government Rules deals with disciplinary proceedings in respect of the misconduct. Therefore, it was held that it does not amount to double jeopardy. Dashrath Singh v. Andhra Bank, 2016 (150) FLR 540.

 

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Dying Declaration – Importance of

The philosophy of law which signifies the importance of a dying declaration is based on the maxim nemo moriturus praesumitur mentire, which means, “no one at the time of death is presumed to lie and he will not meet his maker with a lie in his mouth.” Though a dying declaration is not recorded in the court in the presence of the accused nor is it put to strict proof of cross examination by the accused, still it is admitted in evidence against the general rule that hearsay evidence is not admissible in evidence. The dying declaration does not even require any corroboration as long as it inspires confidence in the mind of the court and that it is free from any form of tutoring. At the same time, dying declaration has to be judged and appreciated in the light of surrounding circumstances. The whole point in giving lot of credence and importance to the piece of dying declaration, deviating from the rule of evidence is that such declaration is made by the victim when he/she is on the verge of death.
In spite of all the importance attached and the sanctity given to the piece of dying declaration, the courts have to be very careful while analyisng the truthfulness, genuineness of the dying declaration and should come to a proper conclusion that the dying declaration is not a product of prompting or tutoring.
The Hon’ble Apex Court in Atbir v. Govt. (NCT of Delhi), (2010) 9 SCC 1, taking into consideration earlier judgments in Paniben v. State of Gujarat, (1992) 2 SCC 474 and another judgment of the Hon’ble Apex Court in Panneerselvam v. State of T.N., (2008) 17 SCC 190, has given certain guidelines while considering a dying declaration:
(i) Dying declaration can be the sole basis of conviction if it inspires the full confidence of the court.
(ii) The Court should be satisfied that the deceased was in a fit state of mind at the time of making the statement and that it was not the result of tutoring, prompting or imagination.
(iii) Where the court is satisfied that the declaration is true and voluntary, it can base its conviction without any further corroboration.
(iv) It cannot be laid down as an absolute rule of law that the dying declaration cannot form the sole basis of conviction unless it is corroborated. The rule requiring corroboration is merely a rule of prudence.
(v) Where the dying declaration is suspicious, it should not be acted upon without corroborative evidence.
(vi) A dying declaration which suffers from infirmity, such as the deceased was unconscious and could never make any statement cannot form the basis of conviction.
(vii) Merely because a dying declaration does not contain all the details as to the occurrence, it is not to be rejected.
(viii) Even if it is a brief statement, it is not to be rejected.
(ix) When the eyewitness affirms that the deceased was not in a fit and conscious state to make the dying declaration, medical opinion cannot prevail.
(x) If after careful scrutiny, the court is satisfied that it is true and free from any effort to induce the deceased to make a false statement and if it is coherent and consistent, there shall be no legal impediment to make it the basis of conviction, even if there is no corroboration.” Umakant v. State of Chhatisgarh, (2014) 7 SCC 405.

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Remission of Sentence

A remission can be granted under Section 432 CrPC in the case of a definite term of sentence. The power under this Section is available only for granting “additional” remission, that is, for a period over and above the remission granted or awarded to a convict under the Jail Manual or other Statutory Rules. If the term of sentence is indefinite (as in life imprisonment), the power under Section 432 CrPC can certainly be exercised but not on the basis that life imprisonment is an arbitrary or notional figure of twenty years of imprisonment.
Before actually exercising the power of remission under Section 432 CrPC the appropriate Government must obtain the opinion (with reasons) of the Presiding Judge of the convicting or confirming Court. Remissions can, therefore, be given only on a case-by-case basis and not in a wholesale manner. Sangeet v. State of Haryana, (2013) 2 SCC 452

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Recovery of Tainted money – is not sufficient to record a conviction

Section 20 of the Prevention of Corruption Act, 1988 states as under:

 

20. Presumption where public servant accepts gratification other than legal remuneration.—(1) Where, in any trial of an offence punishable under Section 7 or Section 11 or clause (a) or clause (b) of sub-section (1) of Section 13 it is proved that an accused person has accepted or obtained or 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 Section 7 or, as the case may be, without consideration or for a consideration which he knows to be inadequate.

(2) Where in any trial of an offence punishable under Section 12 or under clause (b) of Section 14, it is proved that any gratification (other than legal remuneration) or any valuable thing has been given or offered to be given or attempted to be given by an accused person, it shall be presumed, unless the contrary is proved, that he gave or offered to give or attempted to give that gratification or that valuable thing, as the case may be, as a motive or reward such as is mentioned in Section 7, or, as the case may be, without consideration or for a consideration which he knows to be inadequate.

(3) Notwithstanding anything contained in sub-sections (1) and (2), the court may decline to draw the presumption referred to in either of the said sub-sections, if the gratification or thing aforesaid is, in its opinion, so trivial that no inference of corruption may fairly be drawn.

 

Absence of – Evidence of Demand

It is the settled principle of law that mere recovery of the tainted money is not sufficient to record a conviction unless there is evidence that bribe had been demanded or money was paid voluntarily as a bribe. Thus, the only issue that remains to be addressed is whether there was demand of bribe and acceptance of the same. In the absence of any evidence of demand and acceptance of the amount as illegal gratification, recovery alone would not be a ground to convict the accused. T. Subramanian v. State of Tamil Nadu, (2006) 1 SCC 401 : AIR 2006 SC 836.

The demand and acceptance of the amount as illegal gratification is the sine qua non for constituting an offence under the Act. It is also settled in law that there is a statutory presumption under Section 20 of the Act which can be dislodged by the accused by bringing on record some evidence, either direct or circumstantial, that money was accepted other than for the motive or reward as stipulated under Section 7 of the Act[1]. It is obligatory on the part of the Court to consider the explanation offered by the accused under Section 20 of the Act and the consideration of the explanation has to be on the anvil of preponderance of probability. It has not to be proven beyond all reasonable doubt.

Presumption under – Is Obligatory

In the case of C.M. Girish Babu v. CBI, the Apex Court held as under:

“It is well settled that the presumption to be drawn under Section 20 is not an inviolable one.  The accused charged with the offence could rebut it either through the cross examination of the witnesses cited against him or by adducing reliable evidence. If the accused fails to disprove the presumption the would stick and then it can be held by the Court that the prosecution has proved that the accused received the amount towards gratification.”

A presumption under Section 20 of the Act becomes obligatory. It is presumption of law and casts an obligation on the Court to apply it in every case brought under Section 7 of the Act. Narendra Champaklal Trivedi v. State of Gujarat, (2012) 7 SCC 80.


[1] Section 7 of the Act reads as under:

“7. Public servant taking gratification other than legal remuneration in respect of an official act.—Whoever, being, or expecting to be a public servant, accepts or obtains or agrees to accept or attempts to obtain from any person, for himself or for any other person, any gratification whatever, other than legal remuneration, as a motive or reward for doing or forbearing to do any official act or for showing or forbearing to show, in the 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, with the Central Government or any State Government or Parliament or the Legislature of any State or with any local authority, corporation or Government company referred to in clause (c) of Section 2, or with any public servant, whether named or otherwise, shall be punishable with imprisonment which shall be not less than six months but which may extend to five years and shall also be liable to fine.

Explanations.—(a) “Expecting to be a public servant.” If a person not expecting to be in office obtains a gratification by deceiving others into a belief that he is about to be in office, and that he will then serve them, he may be guilty of cheating, but he is not guilty of the offence defined in this section.

(b) “Gratification.” The word “gratification” is not restricted to pecuniary gratifications or to gratifications estimable in money.

(c) “Legal remuneration.” The words “legal remuneration” are not restricted to remuneration which a public servant can lawfully demand, but include all remuneration which he is permitted by the Government or the organisation, which he serves, to accept.

(d) “A motive or reward for doing.” A person who receives a gratification as a motive or reward for doing what he does not intend or is not in a position to do, or has not done, comes within this expression.

(e) Where a public servant induces a person erroneously to believe that his influence with the Government has obtained a title for that person and thus induces that person to give the public servant, money or any other gratification as a reward for this service, the public servant has committed an offence under this section.”

 

 

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Abetment of Suicide

Suicide – Meaning of

The word “suicide” in itself is nowhere defined in the Penal Code, however, its meaning and import is well known and requires no explanation. “Sui” means “self” and “cide” means “killing”, thus implying an act of self-killing. In short, a person committing suicide must commit it by himself, irrespective of the means employed by him in achieving his object of killing himself. M. Mohan v. State, (2011) 3 SCC 626

 

In re DAVIS, DECD., [1968] 1 Q.B. 72, it was held thus:

Suicide is not to be presumed. It must be affirmatively proved to justify the finding. Suicide requires an intention. Every act of self-destruction is, in common language “described by the word ‘suicide,’ provided it be the intentional act of a party knowing the probable consequence of what he is about”: Rolfe B. in Clift v. Schwabe, (1846) 3 C.B. 437

 

Abetment of suicide

Section 306 and107 of the Indian Penal Code read as under:

“306. Abetment of suicide.—If any person commits suicide, whoever abets the commission of such suicide, shall be punished with imprisonment of either description for a term which may extend to ten years, and shall also be liable to fine.”

 

“107. Abetment of a thing.—A person abets the doing of a thing, who—

First.—Instigates any person to do that thing; or

Secondly.—Engages with one or more other person or persons in any conspiracy for the doing of that thing, if an act or illegal omission takes place in pursuance of that conspiracy, and in order to the doing of that thing; or

Thirdly.—Intentionally aids, by any act or illegal omission, the doing of that thing.

Explanation 1.—A person who, by wilful misrepresentation, or by wilful concealment of a material fact which he is bound to disclose, voluntarily causes or procures, or attempts to cause or procure, a thing to be done, is said to instigate the doing of that thing.

Illustration

A, a public officer, is authorised by a warrant from a Court of Justice to apprehend Z. B, knowing that fact and also that C is not Z, wilfully represents to A that C is Z, and thereby intentionally causes A to apprehend C. Here B abets by instigation the apprehension of C.

Explanation 2.—Whoever, either prior to or at the time of the commission of an act, does anything in order to facilitate the commission of that act, and thereby facilitates the commission thereof, is said to aid the doing of that act.”

 

In our country, while suicide itself is not an offence considering that the successful offender is beyond the reach of law, attempt to suicide is an offence under Section 309 IPC.

 

 

Ingredients

In order to bring out an offence under Section 306 IPC specific abetment as contemplated by Section 107 IPC on the part of the accused with an intention to bring about the suicide of the person concerned as a result of that abetment is required. The intention of the accused to aid or to instigate or to abet the deceased to commit suicide is a must for this particular offence under Section 306 IPC. Madan Mohan Singh v. State of Gujarat, (2010) 8 SCC 628

 

As per the section, a person can be said to have abetted in doing a thing, if he, firstly, instigates any person to do that thing; or secondly, engages with one or more other person or persons in any conspiracy for the doing of that thing, if an act or illegal omission takes place in pursuance of that conspiracy, and in order to the doing of that thing; or thirdly, intentionally aids, by any act or illegal omission, the doing of that thing. Explanation to Section 107 states that any wilful misrepresentation or wilful concealment of material fact which he is bound to disclose, may also come within the contours of “abetment”. It is manifest that under all the three situations, direct involvement of the person or persons concerned in the commission of offence of suicide is essential to bring home the offence under Section 306 IPC. Chitresh Kumar Chopra v. State (Government of NCT of Delhi), (2009) 16 SCC 605

 

The Apex Court in Ramesh Kumar, (2001) 9 SCC 618 has examined different shades of the meaning of “instigation”. Para 20 thereof reads as under:

20. Instigation is to goad, urge forward, provoke, incite or encourage to do ‘an act’. To satisfy the requirement of instigation though it is not necessary that actual words must be used to that effect or what constitutes instigation must necessarily and specifically be suggestive of the consequence. Yet a reasonable certainty to incite the consequence must be capable of being spelt out. The present one is not a case where the accused had by his acts or omission or by a continued course of conduct created such circumstances that the deceased was left with no other option except to commit suicide in which case an instigation may have been inferred. A word uttered in the fit of anger or emotion without intending the consequences to actually follow cannot be said to be instigation.”

 

Grounds for Conviction

 

Abetment involves a mental process of instigating a person or intentionally aiding a person in doing of a thing. Without a positive act on the part of the accused to instigate or aid in committing suicide, conviction cannot be sustained. The intention of the legislature and the ratio of the cases decided by the Apex Court is clear that in order to convict a person under Section 306 IPC there has to be a clear mens rea to commit the offence. It also requires an active act or direct act which led the deceased to commit suicide seeing no option and that act must have been intended to push the deceased into such a position that he committed suicide. S.S. Chheena v. Vijay Kumar Mahajan, (2010) 12 SCC 190

 

 

 

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