With corruption being talked about as menace and government taking steps such as demonetization to tackle it, the Bombay high court has held that mere demand of bribe is punishable.
It held that the crime is punishable under provisions of the Prevention of Corruption (PC) Act, 1988.
The significant ruling came as a bench of Justices RM Savant and Sarang Kotwal said Section 7 of PC Act — which uses words “accepts” or “obtains” and phrases such as “agrees to accept” or “attempts to obtain” — clearly indicates that mere demand is covered under the law.
It was on July 29, 2017 that the state anti-corruption bureau had registered an offence against Rajendra Shinde and Sanjay Bramhankar, both employees of Maharashtra Agro Industries Development Corporation (MAIDC).
The complaint was lodged by one Ravish Maru, who manufactured HDPE pipes.
Even as the pipes were supplied to various zilla parishads through MAIDC and the payment is again routed to Maru through the agency, Maru alleged that they had demanded 2% of the total bills paid by the MAIDC.
To this Shinde and Bramhankar approached the high court and sought quashing of an FIR.
The two of them argued that mere demand of bribe does not amount to an offence.
On his part, the complainant also alleged that the accused had accepted Rs50,000 from him as bribe for disbursal of part of the payment.>