STATE TIMES NEWSJAMMU: Justice Rashid Ali Dar of State High Court on Saturday suspended sentence and granted bail to Dr. Manohar Lal, a Veterinary doctor and Jaswant Lal his driver who were convicted by Additional Sessions Judge Anti Corruption Jammu on March 1, 2019 and subsequently awarded two years imprisonment. This significant order suspending the sentence of the Vet Doctor who was then Jammu Municipal Corporation’s Veterinary Officer came in an alleged case of accepting a bribe of Rs 2000 from some butcher. The trial Court had convicted both the Municipal Veterinary Officer and his then driver but the High Court after hearing the counsel for the appellants A.K Sawhney Advocate suspended the sentence and granted bail to the appellants. While making submissions, Advocate Sawhney urged before the High Court that the judgment passed is perverse and passed with non-application of mind. In the judgment date of occurrence is shown September 3, 2010 while as alleged occurrence is of September 3, 2011. He further submitted there was neither demand nor acceptance of bribe. Mere recovery of money is no offence, he added while citing Supreme Court Judgment. He also referred to the statements of the witnesses which were totally contradictory. He also submitted that the so called trap team had itself not corroborated the evidence and testimonies. “The strangest part of the impugned judgment was that in one part the Trial Court had referred to Insp Reena Bhau as the Investigating Officer and in the other part and statement a DySP Rajinder Kumar was referred to as the IO and in light of such glaring contradictory versions and likewise many such omissions and commissions the benefit of doubt ought to have been given to the accused, but sadly the Trial Court had not adopted that legal principle that when two views emerge the view that supports the accused must be adopted”, he submitted. Sawhney also submitted that for the suspension of sentence another reason was that there was marriage of a close relative and therefore sought bail for the accused Vet Doctor. Sanchit Verma, Advocate appearing vice Raman Sharma, Dy.AG stated that the judgment of the Trial Court is well reasoned and there is no scope at this stage for suspension of sentence. Justice Dar after hearing submissions of A.K Sawhney, Advocate for appellants and Sanchit Verma, Advocate vice Raman Sharma, Dy AG observed, “In view of the points urged in the memo of appeal, it can be safely deduced that the points raised therein are required to be determined on hearing of the main case and prima facie, the aforesaid pleas cannot be termed vexatious and as such his endeavour has been to project as there being no scope for holding the convict guilty of the commission of offence under Section 5(1)(d) read with Section 5(2) of the Prevention of Corruption Act and Section 161 of the Ranbir Penal Code. Suffice to say that having regard to the plea raised in the memo of the appeal in particular and the plea of solemnization of the marriage raised at bar by counsel for the appellants/applicants, the ground is made out for suspension of sentence”. Upon this, the court directed that subject to objections and till next date of hearing before the bench, the sentence is suspended till next date. The appellants/applicants shall be released from the custody subject to the condition that they shall furnish bonds in an amount of Rs.1 lakh each with two sureties in the like amount to the satisfaction of the Registrar Judicial of this Court, the court held.
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