Acceptance of fee in lieu of unauthorised professional service does not amount to illegal gratification under Prevention of Corruption Act, 1988

High Court of Gujarat: A Single Judge Bench of  R.P. Dholaria, J., decided  an appeal against the judgment of the lower court, wherein the accused was charged under Sections 7 and 13(2) read with Section 13(1)(d) of the Prevention of Corruption Act, 1988 (‘Act’).

The brief facts of the case being that, the wife of the complainant was suffering from back pain, and thus had visited a Primary Health Center, where the accused (a Medical Officer), had demanded Rs 1700 as operation fees (for operating the wife of the complainant), which the complainant had claimed to be illegal gratification.

The Court relied upon Kanwarjit Singh Kakkar v. State of Punjab, (2011) 13 SCC 158, wherein the Supreme Court had held that, the amount alleged to have been accepted is not by way of gratification for doing any favour to the accused, but admittedly by way of professional fee for examining and treating the patients. Accordingly, the appeal was allowed and the impugned judgment quashed and set-aside. [Rambhai Hajabhai Garaniya v. State of Gujarat,  2018 SCC OnLine Guj 1248, decided on 02-05-2018]

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