The Supreme Court answering to the question “whether in the absence of direct evidence regarding demand or giving of bribe, there can be conviction under the Prevention of Corruption Act based on circumstantial inferences” highlighted that in the absence of evidence of the complainant it is permissible to draw an inferential deduction of culpability/guilt of a public servant under Section 7 and 70 of the Act.
During the trial before the Special Judge and the High Court, two witnesses had turned against their own statements of having paid any bribe or any demand of bribe made to them. Thus, both witnesses were declared as “hostile”. Both the trial court and the High Court disbelieved the defence witnesses. In their opinion, witnesses were won over by the appellant.
The position of law when a complainant or prosecution witness turns “hostile” was also discussed and the observations made would accordingly apply in light of Section 154 of the Evidence Act. The Supreme Court expresses its hope that corrupt public servants are brought to book and convicted so that the administration and governance becomes unpolluted and free from corruption.