Corruption; HCL Infosystem Vs. Central Bureau of Investigation [Supreme Court of India, 09-08-2016]

Prevention of Corruption Act, 1988 –  National Rural Health Mission Scam (NHRM Scam) – Jurisdiction of the Special Judge appointed under the PC Act to try a person other than a public servant if the public servant dies before the commencement of the trial – Whether the Special Judge can try a non PC Act case when his appointment is to try all cases of the category which covers the present case – Held, the Special Court in question has been constituted not only to deal with the cases of PC Act but also other cases relating to the NRHM scam. Procedure of Code of Criminal Procedure is applicable to trial before Special Judge and there is no prejudice to trial that is taking place before Special Judge duly appointed to deal with non PC cases when the object of doing so was to try connected cases before same court. Undoubtedly, while Special Judge alone could deal with cases under the PC Act, non- PC Act could also be allowed to be tried by the Special Judge under Section 26 of the Code of Criminal Procedure. There is no legal bar to do so.

Special Judge


IN THE SUPREME COURT OF INDIA

CRIMINAL APPELLATE JURISDICTION

(V. GOPALA GOWDA) AND (ADARSH KUMAR GOEL) JJ.

August 09 , 2016

CRIMINAL APPEAL NO. 751 OF 2016

(ARISING OUT OF S.L.P. (CRL.) NO. 4338 OF 2015)

M/S. HCL INFOSYSTEM LTD. …APPELLANT

VERSUS

CENTRAL BUREAU OF INVESTIGATION …RESPONDENT

W I T H

CRIMINAL APPEAL NO. 752 OF 2016

(ARISING OUT OF S.L.P. (CRL.) NO.1418 OF 2016)

DR. VIJAI TRIPATHI …APPELLANT

VERSUS

CENTRAL BUREAU OF INVESTIGATION AND ANOTHER …RESPONDENTS

For Petitioner(s) Mr. P. V. Dinesh,Adv. Mr. Sibo Sankar Mishra,Adv. Mr. Uma Kant Mishra, Adv. Mr. Niranjan Sahu, Adv. For Respondent(s) Mr. M. Rambabu, Adv. Mukesh Kumar Maroria,Adv.

J U D G M E N T

ADARSH KUMAR GOEL, J.

1. Leave granted. These appeals have been preferred against the orders of the High Court of Judicature at Allahabad dated 1st May, 2015 and 22nd January, 2016 in APP No. 6623 of 2015 and Application u/s 482/378/407 No. 3823 of 2014 respectively.

2. The question for consideration relates to the jurisdiction of the Special Judge appointed under the

Prevention of Corruption Act, 1988

(the “PC Act”) to try a person other than a public servant if the public servant dies before the commencement of the trial. Further question is whether the Special Judge can try a non PC Act case when his appointment is to try all cases of the category which covers the present case.

3. The Central Bureau of Investigation (the “CBI”) conducted investigation in what is known as “National Rural Health Mission Scam” (“NHRM Scam”). According to the said investigation, NRHM funds to the tune of Rs. 9,000 crores, which were allocated to the State of Uttar Pradesh for the period 2005-2006 by the Ministry of Health & Family Welfare, Government of India, were diverted and allegedly misappropriated on a large scale. The CBI enquiry was ordered by the Lucknow Bench of the High Court on 15th November, 2011. It also came to light that two Chief Medical Officers were shot dead as a result of the said scam. One Deputy Chief Medical Officer was arrested by the local police, but he was found dead in jail on 22nd June, 2011. One Sunil Verma, who was named as one of the accused, allegedly committed suicide on 23rd January, 2012. One Mahender Kumar Sharma, who was a clerk in the office of Chief Medical Officer, Lakhimpur Kheri was found murdered on 15th February, 2012. The CBI conducted searches of more than 150 places across the State and arrested a number of accused persons suspected to be involved in the embezzlement of NHRM funds.

4. A single court was designated as the trial court to facilitate the progress of the trial vide order of the Chief Justice of the High Court dated 16th May, 2012. Vide order of the State Government dated 28th August, 2012 the said notification designated the Special Judge, CBI, Ghaziabad for dealing with “NRHM scam matters” for whole of the Uttar Pradesh State and was in addition to notification dated 10th March, 2011 issued earlier for appointment of Special Judge for trial of offences under Section 3(1) of the PC Act.

5. The two notifications are as follows :

“Notification Miscellaneous No.U.O.-24/6-P-9-2011-167G/09TC-Nyaya-2 Lucknow : dated March 10, 2011 In exercise of the powers under sub-section (1) of section 3 and sub-section (2) of section 4 of the Prevention of Corruption Act, 1988 (Act No. 49 of 1988) read with section 21 of the General Clauses Act, 1897 (Act no.X of 1897) and in supersession of all other notifications issued in this behalf, the Governor is pleased to appoint from the date of his taking over charge the Additional District Judge mentioned in Column 2 of the Scheduled below, as Special Judge for the areas mentioned in Column 4 for trial for such offences specified in sub-section (1) ofsection 3 of the aforesaid Act no.49 of 1988 in which hereinafter charge sheet are filed in his court by Special Police Establishment of the Government of India and to direct that such other cases arising within the said areas, in which charge sheets have already been filed before any other Special Judge appointed under the said Act and also such other cases arising within the said area relating to the said Special Police Establishment which are pending before such Special Judge, shall also be tried and disposed off by him and his court shall be designated as specified in column-3 of said Schedule with headquarters at Ghaziabad.

Schedule

|Sl.|Name of the Judge |Name of the |Areas of |
|No.| |Court |Jurisdiction |
| | | |(District) |
|1 |2 |3 |4 |
|1 |Shri Shyam Lal-II, |Special |G.B. Nagar, Meerut,|

| |Additional District|Court, Anti |Aligarh, Rampur, | | |and Sessions Judge,|Corruption, |Mainpuri, | | |Ghaziabad |CBI, |Firozabad. | | | |Ghaziabad | | |2 |Dr. Ashok Kumar |Special |Ghaziabad, | | |Singh-IV, Special |Court |Moradabad, | | |Judge Anti |C.B.I., |Bulandshahar, | | |Corruption C.B.I., |Court No.1, |Bijnor, Hathras | | |Ghaziabad |Ghaziabad | | |3 |Sri M.S. Wadhwa, |Special |Saharanpur, Agra, | | |Additional District|Court |Muzaffarnagar, J.P.| | |and Sessions Judge,|C.B.I., |Nagar, Etah, | | |Muzaffarnagar |Court No.2, |Baghpat, Mathura. | | | |Ghaziabad | | By order Deepak Kumar Secretary Government of Uttar Pradesh Home (Police) Section-9 No. U.O.49/Six-P-12-167 G/09 T.C. Justice-2 Lucknow, Dated: 28th August, 2012 Exercising the powers conferred under section 2 of General Clauses Act, 1897 (Act No.10 of 1897) read with sub-section (1) of section 73 and sub-
section (2) of section 4 of Prevention of Corruption Act, 1988 (Act No.49 of 1988) and besides Notification No.U.O.24/Six-P-9-2011-167G/09 T.C. – Justice-2, dated 10th March, 2011 issued for this purpose, the Governor do hereby appoint Sri Shyam Lal–Second. Special Judge, Anti Corruption, CBI, Ghaziabad, for disposing of National Rural Health Mission (NRHM) Scam matters of whole of Uttar Pradesh, besides the matters mentioned in previous Notification, with immediate effect.

By the order
Kamal Saxena
Secretary ”
(emphasis added)

6. The CBI filed several charge sheets, including a charge sheet in respect of offences not covered by the PC Act in the case of Dr. Vijai Tripathi (appellant in SLP (Crl.) No.1418 of 2016) and others. Since the Special Judge declined to entertain the said charge sheet, on application of the CBI, the High Court held that the Special Judge was to deal with “all cases relating to the scam”, even though the offences were not under the PC Act.1