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Even a demand of ONE extra rupee is a bribe
The act of asking for a bribe is by itself a big crime. Whether the amount being demanded runs to a single digit or seven digits is besides the point.
Our viewpoint received a shot in the arm with the verdict of Mumbai High Court on Saturday (June 9) which upheld the judgement of a trial court in connection with a bribery case. The Jalgaon (Maharashtra) court had earlier ordered a jail term of two years for two employees of the Sub-Registrar office for demanding a bribe of Rs 150.
Complainant Mr Subhas Murthe, who had approached the Registrar’s office in connection with the registration of his property in 1998, was asked to pay the sum by the Sub-registrar, Mr Ramrao Kale, and his peon, Mr Shivraj Deshmukh. Mr Murthe promised to pay the sum the following day and tipped off the Anti-Corruption Bureau before paying it.
The duo that was caught redhanded, appealed against the sentence on the plea that the sum was a trivial amount and the verdict was harsh on them. However, when upholding the conviction, Justice T V Nalawade, said, "This court has no hesitation to observe that the amount involved, Rs 150, was not a trivial amount as it was demanded and accepted in 1998. In those days, ordinary labourer was getting hardly Rs 30 per day as wages."
Though the complainant had to wait 15 long years to see the duo punished, the sentence is bound to offer the complainant some solace.
The conductor who slyly pockets a rupee or two claiming lack of change is as guilty as a top official in a Revenue departments who demands a bribe amount running in lakhs. The latter got the opportunity to it in a position of power whereas the former did not.
The feeling of helplessness and exploitation a victim suffers when one is made to pay to get some job done comes through in countless reports our respondents across the country have filed on Ipaidabribe.com.
By S. Lalitha
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