35 yrs after conviction, Delhi HC rejects plea of man after death
New Delhi: Thirty five years after a court clerk was awarded one-year jail term for taking Rs 25 as bribe, the Delhi High Court has rejected his appeal pursued by his wife and two sons after his death.
AC Midha, working as a 'ahalmad' (record keeper) in a labour court at Tis Hazari in 1977, was sentenced to one year jail, besides being slapped with a fine of Rs 100, in 1978 for demanding and accepting Rs 25 as bribe for sending the court's order to the labour office.
The appeal against the conviction, pending with the High Court since 1978, was filed by Midha and after his death, his wife and two sons were allowed to pursue the matter.
"In the present case, nothing has been brought on record that the complainant (Ram Gopal) and Inspector KL Sethi (Investigating Officer) had any reason to falsely implicate the accused.
"No other submissions were made from the side of the deceased accused-appellant. There is no merit in this appeal and, therefore, the same is dismissed," Justice PK Bhasin said while putting an end to the protracted legal battle.
An FIR was lodged against Midha by complainant Ram Gopal who had won a court battle against the management of Daily Pratap which had suspended him from the post of dispatcher in 1976.
It was also said Midha had demanded and accepted Rs 25 as bribe for sending the copy of the judgement, that had awarded a decree of Rs 1155.40 paise in his favour in 1977, to the labour office for execution of the award against the management of the daily.
Midha was arrested by Anti Corruption Branch sleuths while accepting the chemical-laced bribe money.
The court, in its judgement, rejected the plea of the
deceased convict that the complainant cannot be believed as he did not complain against him to the presiding judge under whom he was working as 'ahalmad'.
"In my view, this criticism is without any merit. If the complainant had felt that he should report the matter to the police instead of complaining to the Judge concerned, no fault can be found with his decision and he cannot be disbelieved for that reason," the court said.
Justice Bhasin upheld the judgement of the lower court saying the "two material witnesses" (IO and the complainant) could not be discredited "as far as the recovery of the tainted money from the papers in the hand of the accused is concerned."