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Tuesday, October 29, 2013

As per Section 87 of the Rajasthan Municipalities Act as also Section 2(c) of the Prevention of Corruption Act, 1988 -a Municipal Councillor and Board member is a public servant and as such the petitioner can not challenge his prosecution for an offence under Sections 7, 13(1)(d) read with Section 13(2) of the Prevention of Corruption Act = = MANISH TRIVEDI … APPELLANT VERSUS STATE OF RAJASTHAN …RESPONDENT = Reported in http://judis.nic.in/supremecourt/filename=40912

 As per Section  87  of the Rajasthan Municipalities Act as also Section 2(c) of the  Prevention  of Corruption Act, 1988 -a Municipal Councillor and Board member is a public servant and as such the petitioner can not  challenge his prosecution  for  an  offence  under Sections  7,  13(1)(d)  read  with  Section  13(2)  of  the  Prevention   of Corruption Act =

  Councillors and members of  the  Board  are  positions
which exist under the Rajasthan Municipalities Act.  It  is  independent  of the person who fills it.  They perform  various  duties  which  are  in  the field of public duty.  From the conspectus of what we have  observed  above,
it is evident that appellant is a public servant within  Section  2(c)(viii) of the Prevention of Corruption Act, 1988.
Now we revert to the  authorities  relied  on  by  Mr.  Adhiyaru  i.e.
R.S.Nayak (supra), Ramesh  Balkrishna  Kulkarni  (supra)  and  T.Thulasingam
(supra). 
In all these decisions, this Court was  considering  the  scope  of
Section 21 of the Indian Penal Code which defines ‘public servant’.  
It  was
necessary to do so as Section 2 of the Prevention of  Corruption  Act,  1947
defined ‘public servant’ to mean as defined under Section 21 of  the  Indian
Penal Code.  
A member of the Board, or for that  matter,  a  Councillor  per
se, may not come within the definition of  the  public  servant  as  defined
under Section 21 of the Indian Penal Code but this does not mean  that  they
cannot be brought in the category of public servant by any other  enactment.

 In the present case, the Municipal Councillor or member of the  Board  does
not come within the definition of public servant as  defined  under  Section
21 of the Indian Penal Code, but in view of the  legal  fiction  created  by
Section 87 of  the  Rajasthan  Municipalities  Act,  they  come  within  its
definition.

      It is an admitted position that in none  of  the  aforesaid  judgments
relied on by the appellant, this Court had considered any provision  similar
to Section 87 of the Rajasthan  Municipalities  Act  and,  therefore,  those
judgments cannot  be  read  to  mean  that  a  Municipal  Councillor  in  no
circumstance can be deemed to be a public servant.  

 The  ratio  of
those cases is that Municipal Councillors  are  not  public  servants  under Section 21 of the Indian Penal  Code.  
 But  Section  87  of  the  Rajasthan Municipalities Act, as discussed above, make Councillor and member of  Board a public servant within the meaning of Section 21 of the Indian Penal  Code.
 Hence, all the judgments of  this  Court  referred  to  above  are  clearly distinguishable.


      Not only this, in the case in hand, we are concerned with the  meaning
of the expression ‘public servant’ as defined  under  Section  2(c)  of  the
Prevention of Corruption Act, 1988 and, hence, decisions  rendered  by  this
Court while interpreting Section 21 of  the  Indian  Penal  Code,  which  in
substance  and  content  are  substantially  different  than  Section   2(c)
aforesaid, shall have no bearing at all for decision in  the  present  case.

As regards the decision of the learned Single Judge of  the  Rajasthan  High
Court in the case of Sumitra Kanthiya (supra), it has  also  not  considered
Section 87 of the Rajasthan Municipalities Act. 
 In fact,  to  come  to  the
conclusion  that  the  Municipal  Councillor  would  not  come  within   the
definition of public servant, it has mainly placed reliance  on  a  judgment
of this Court in the case of Ramesh Balkrishna Kulkarni  (supra).   
We  have
considered this judgment in little detail in  the  preceding  paragraphs  of
the judgment and found the same to be distinguishable as the  said  decision
did not consider the statutory provision in  the  present  format.  
Further,
the aforesaid case does not lay down an absolute  proposition  of  law  that
Municipal Councillor  in  no  circumstances  can  be  treated  as  a  public
servant.  
The learned Judge has also not at all adverted to  Section  87  of
the Rajasthan Municipalities Act as also Section 2(c) of the  Prevention  of Corruption Act, 1988 and, hence, the  judgment  rendered  by  the  Rajasthan High Court in Sumitra Kanthiya (supra) does not lay down the  law  correctly and is, therefore, overruled.


      As the trial is pending since long, we  deem  it  expedient  that  the
learned Judge in seisin of the trial makes an endeavour to  dispose  of  the
trial expeditiously and in no case later than six months from  the  date  of
receipt of a copy of this order.

      In the result, we do not find any  merit  in  the  appeal  and  it  is
dismissed accordingly.


                                                        REPORTABLE

                        IN THE SUPREME COURT OF INDIA
                       CRIMINAL APPELLATE JURISDICTION

                       CRIMINAL APPEAL NO.1881 OF 2013
              (@SPECIAL LEAVE PETITION (CRL) NO. 7511 OF 2013)

MANISH TRIVEDI                               … APPELLANT

                                   VERSUS

STATE OF RAJASTHAN                          …RESPONDENT


                               J U D G M E N T


CHANDRAMAULI KR. PRASAD, J.

      The petitioner’s challenge to his prosecution  for  an  offence  under
Sections  7,  13(1)(d)  read  with  Section  13(2)  of  the  Prevention   of
Corruption Act has been turned down by the trial court and  
the  said  order
has been affirmed by the High Court by its order dated 1st  of  March,  2013
passed in Criminal Miscellaneous Petition No. 1686 of 2009. 
 It  is  against
this order that the petitioner has preferred this special leave petition.

      Delay condoned.

      Leave granted.

      Shorn of unnecessary details, facts giving rise to the present  appeal
are that the appellant at the relevant time was a Councillor elected to  the
Municipal Council, Banswara and a Member of the Municipal  Board.
According
to the prosecution, one Prabhu Lal  Mochi  lodged  a  report  in  the  Anti-
Corruption Bureau, inter alia, alleging that he had a shoe repair shop  near
the gate of Forest Department, Banswara and the employees of  the  Municipal
Council had seized his cabin in the  year  2000  rendering  him  unemployed.
According to the allegation, he applied for the allotment of a kiosk  before
the Municipal Council but did not succeed.  On  enquiry  the  informant  was
told that it is the appellant who can get the allotment made in  his  favour
and accordingly  he  contacted  the  appellant.
 It  is  alleged  that  the
appellant demanded a sum of Rs. 50,000/- for getting the allotment  done  in
his name and ultimately it was agreed that  initially  the  informant  would
pay Rs. 5,000/- to the appellant and the rest  amount  thereafter.   
On  the
basis of the aforesaid information, according to  the  prosecution,  a  trap
was laid and the appellant was caught red-handed and a sum  of  Rs.  5,000/-
was recovered from him.

         After usual investigation, charge-sheet was submitted  against  the
appellant and he was put on trial.
During the trial evidence of one of  the
witnesses was recorded and thereafter, the appellant  filed  an  application
before the trial court for dropping the proceeding, inter  alia,  contending
that he being a Councillor does not come within the  definition  of  ‘public servant’ and as such, he cannot be  put  on  trial  for  the  offence  under Sections  7,  13(1)(d)  read  with  Section  13(2)  of  the  Prevention   of Corruption Act, 1988.
The trial court rejected the  said  prayer  vide  its
order dated 13th of  October,  2009.   The  appellant  assailed  this  order
before the High Court in an application filed under Section 482 of the  Code
of Criminal Procedure and the  High  Court  by  the  impugned  judgment  has
rejected his prayer.

      It is against this order that the appellant  is  before  us  with  the
leave of the court.

      We have heard Mr. Yashank Adhiyaru, Senior Counsel for  the  appellant
while respondent is represented by Mr. Milind Kumar.

      Mr. Adhiyaru submits that
a  Municipal  Councillor  is  not  a  public
servant and, therefore, his prosecution for the offence alleged  is  bad  in
law.
According to him, for prosecuting an accused  for  offence  under  the
Prevention of Corruption Act, 1988 the accused  charged  must  be  a  public
servant and the appellant not being a public servant  cannot  be  prosecuted
under the said Act.  Further, for a person to have the status  of  a  public
servant he must be appointed by the Government and must be  getting  pay  or
salary from the Government.
Not only this, to be a public servant,  such  a
person has to  discharge  his  duties  in  accordance  with  the  rules  and
regulations made by the Government.  According to  him,  the  appellant  was
elected as a Municipal Councillor and he does not  owe  his  appointment  to
any governmental authority.
 Being a  person  elected  by  the  people,  the
commands and edicts of a Government authority  do  not  apply  to  him.
 In
support of the submission he has placed  reliance  on  a  judgment  of  this
Court in the case of R.S. Nayak v. A.R. Antulay, (1984) 2 SCC 183.   He  has
drawn our attention to the following passage from the said judgment.

           “41…….Whatever that may be the conclusion  is  inescapable  that
           till 1964 at any rate MLA was not comprehended in the definition
           of ‘public servant’ in Section 21. And the  Santhanam  Committee
           did not recommend its inclusion in  the  definition  of  ‘public
           servant’ in Section 21.


           42…….Now if prior to the enactment of Act 40 of 1964 MLA was not
           comprehended as  a  public  servant  in  Section  21,  the  next
           question is: did  the  amendment  make  any  difference  in  his
           position. The amendment keeps the law virtually unaltered.  Last
           part of clause (9) was enacted as clause (12)(a). If MLA was not
           comprehended in clause (9) before its amendment and  dissection,
           it would make no difference in the meaning of law if  a  portion
           of clause (9) is re-enacted as clause (12)(a). It must follow as
           a necessary corollary that the amendment of clauses (9) and (12)
           by Amending Act 40 of 1964 did not bring about any change in the
           interpretation of  clause  (9)  and  clause  (12)(a)  after  the
           amendment of 1964………..


                       Xxx        xxx         xxx


                 ……….Therefore, apart  from  anything  else,  on  historical
           evolution  of  Section  21,  adopted  as  an  external  aid   to
           construction,
one can confidently say that MLA was  not  and  is not a ‘public servant’ within the meaning of the  expression  in any of the clauses of Section 21 IPC.”


      Another decision on which the  counsel  has  placed  reliance  is  the
judgment of this Court in the case of Ramesh Balkrishna  Kulkarni  v.  State
of Maharashtra, (1985) 3  SCC  606,  and  he  has  drawn  our  attention  to
Paragraph 5 from the said judgment which reads as follows:
           “5. In view of this decision, therefore, we need not go  to  the
           other authorities on the subject. Even so, we are of the opinion
           that the concept of a “public servant” is quite  different  from
           that of  a  Municipal  Councillor.  A  “public  servant”  is  an
           authority who  must  be  appointed  by  Government  or  a  semi-
           governmental body and should be in the  pay  or  salary  of  the
           same. Secondly, a “public servant” is to discharge his duties in
           accordance  with  the  rules  and  regulations   made   by   the
           Government. On the other hand, a Municipal Councillor  does  not
           owe his appointment to any governmental authority. Such a person   is elected  by  the  people  and  functions  undeterred  by  the  commands or edicts of a governmental authority. 
 The  mere  fact
           that an MLA gets allowance by way of honorarium does not convert
           his status into that of a “public servant”.
In  R.S.  Nayak  v.
           A.R. Antulay, (1984)  2  SCC  183  the  learned  Judges  of  the
           Constitution Bench have  referred  to  the  entire  history  and
           evolution of the concept of a “public servant”  as  contemplated
           by Section 21 of the IPC.”


      Yet another decision on which  counsel  has  placed  reliance  is  the
judgment of this Court in the case of State of T.N. v. T. Thulasingam,  1994
Supp (2) SCC 405, and he has drawn our attention to Paragraph  76  from  the
said judgment which reads as follows:

           “76. The High Court was, however, right  in  acquitting  various
           Councillors of the charge under the Prevention of Corruption Act
           as they are not public servants, in view of the decision of this
           Court in Ramesh Balkrishna  Kulkarni  v.  State  of  Maharashtra
           (1985) 3 SCC 606.
The acquittal of the Councillors (A-75 to A-80
           and A-82); 
Chairman and Member of the Accounts  Committee  (A-84
           to A-86); 
Members of the Works Committee (A-87);
 Members of  the
           Education Committee (A-94 to A-96); 
Member of the Town  Planning
           Committee (A-98) and 
Councillors (A-102  and  A-104)  under  the
           provisions of the Prevention of Corruption Act is  thus  upheld.
           
However, their respective convictions and  sentences  for  other
           charges as found  by  the  trial  court  are  upheld  and  their
           acquittal by the High Court for  those  other  charges  was  not
           justified. 
All the public dignitaries themselves had become  the
           kingpin of the criminal conspiracy to defraud the Corporation of
           Madras.”


      Counsel for the appellant has also placed reliance  on  an  unreported
judgment of the Rajasthan High Court in the case of  Smt.  Sumitra  Kanthiya
vs. State of Rajasthan,  disposed  of  on  30th  of  July,  2008  passed  in
Criminal Revision Petition No. 453 of 2008 and our attention has been  drawn
to the following passage from the said judgment:

                 “In view of the above  decision  of  the  Hon’ble  Supreme
           Court, the  petitioners  being  municipal  councillors  are  not
           public servant and charges framed against  them  without  giving
           them opportunity of hearing on 18.7.2007 cannot be  sustainable,
           specially when the State refused to sanction prosecution and the
           Anti  Corruption  Department  submitted  final  report  but  the
           learned Judge took the cognizance overlooking  the  above  legal
           aspects.”


       Mr.  Milind  Kumar,  learned  counsel  appearing  on  behalf  of  the
respondent  State  of  Rajasthan,  however,  submits  that  the   appellant,
undisputedly being the Municipal Councillor  and  a  Member  of  the  Board,
comes within the definition of public servant and, hence, he  cannot  escape
from the prosecution for the offence  punishable  under  the  Prevention  of
Corruption      Act, 1988.

      We have bestowed our consideration to the rival submission and  we  do
not find any substance in the submission of Mr.  Yashank  Adhiyaru  and  the
authorities relied on are clearly distinguishable.

      As stated earlier, it is  an  admitted  position  that  the  appellant
happens to be an elected Councillor and a Member  of  the  Municipal  Board.
Section 3(2)  of  the  Act  defines  Board.  
 Section  7  provides  for  its
establishment and incorporation  and  Section  9  provides  for  composition
thereof.  
Section 3(15) defines ‘Member’ to mean a person who is lawfully  a
Member of a Board.  
Section 87 of the  Rajasthan  Municipalities  Act,  1959
makes every Member to be public servant within the meaning of Section 21  of
the Indian Penal Code and the same reads         as follows:

           “87. Members etc.,  to  be  deemed  public  servants.-
(1)  Every
           member, officer or servant, and every lessee of the levy of  any
           municipal tax, and every servant or other employee of  any  such
           lessee shall be deemed to be a public servant within the meaning
           of Section 21 of the Indian Penal Code, 1860 (Central Act XLV of
           1860).


         
(2)    The  word  “Government”  in  the  definition  of   “legal
           remuneration” in  Section  161  of  that  Code  shall,  for  the
           purposes of sub-section  (1)  of  this  section,  be  deemed  to
           include a municipal board.”

      From a plain reading of the aforesaid provision it is evident that  by
the aforesaid section the legislature  has  created  a  fiction  that  every
Member shall be deemed to be a public servant within the meaning of  Section
21 of the Indian Penal Code.
It is well settled  that  the  legislature  is
competent to create a legal fiction.  A deeming  provision  is  enacted  for
the purpose of assuming the existence  of  a  fact  which  does  not  really
exist.
When the legislature creates  a  legal  fiction,  the  court  has  to
ascertain for what purpose the fiction is  created  and  after  ascertaining
this, to assume all those facts and consequences  which  are  incidental  or
inevitable corollaries for giving effect to the  fiction.
 In  our  opinion,
the legislature, while enacting  Section  87  has,  thus,  created  a  legal
fiction for the purpose of assuming that the Members, otherwise, may not  be
public servants within the meaning of Section 21 of the  Indian  Penal  Code
but shall be assumed to be so in view of the legal fiction so  created.
 In
view of the aforesaid, there is no  escape  from  the  conclusion  that  the
appellant is a public servant within  the  meaning  of  Section  21  of  the
Indian Penal Code.

       To  put  the  record  straight,  we  must  incorporate  an  ancillary
submission of Mr. Adhiyaru. He submits that ‘Every member’ used  in  Section
87 relates to such members who are associated with any ‘lessee of  the  levy
of any Municipal tax’.  This submission has only been noted to be  rejected.
 The expression  ‘Every  member’  in  Section  87  is  independent  and  not
controlled by the latter portion at all and in view of  the  plain  language
of the section, no further elaboration is required.

      Under the scheme of the Rajasthan Municipalities  Act  it  is  evident
that the appellant happens to be a Councillor and a  Member  of  the  Board.
Further in view of language of Section 87 of  the  Rajasthan  Municipalities
Act, he is a public servant within the meaning of Section 21 of  the  Indian
Penal Code.  Had this been a case of prosecution  under  the  Prevention  of
Corruption Act, 1947 then this would  have  been  the  end  of  the  matter.
Section 2 of this Act defines ‘public servant’ to  mean  public  servant  as
defined under Section 21 of the  Indian  Penal  Code.   However,  under  the
Prevention of Corruption Act, 1988, with  which  we  are  concerned  in  the
present appeal, the term ‘public servant’ has  been  defined  under  Section
2(c) thereof.  In our opinion, prosecution under this  Act  can  take  place
only of such persons, who come  within  the  definition  of  public  servant
therein.  Definition of public servant under the  Prevention  of  Corruption
Act, 1947 and Section 21 of the Indian Penal  Code  is  of  no  consequence.
The appellant is sought to be prosecuted under the Prevention of  Corruption
Act, 1988 and, hence, to determine his status it would be necessary to  look
into  its  interpretation  under  Section  2(c)  thereof,  read   with   the
provisions of the Rajasthan Municipalities Act.
 The  view  which  we  have
taken finds support from the judgment of this Court in State of  Maharashtra
v. Prabhakarrao, (2002) 7 SCC 636, wherein it has been held as follows:

           “5.  Unfortunately,  the  High  Court  in  its  order  has   not
           considered this  question  at  all.  It  has  proceeded  on  the
           assumption that Section 21 of  the  Indian  Penal  Code  is  the
           relevant provision for determination of the question whether the
           accused in the case is  a  public  servant.  
As  noted  earlier,
           Section 21 IPC is of no relevance to consider the question which
           has to be on interpretation of provision of Section 2(c) of  the
           Prevention of  Corruption  Act,  1988  read  with  the  relevant
           provisions of the Maharashtra Cooperative Societies Act, 1960.”


      Now we proceed to consider
whether or not the appellant, a  Councillor
and the member of the Board, is a public servant under Section 2(c)  of  the
Prevention of Corruption Act, 1988.  Section  2(c)  of  this  Act  reads  as
follows:

           “2. Definitions.-In  this  Act,  unless  the  context  otherwise
           requires,-


                 (a)   xxx              xxx              xxx


                 (b)   xxx              xxx              xxx


                 (c) " public servant" means,-


                 (i) any person in the service or pay of the  Government  or
                 remunerated by the Government by fees or commission for the
                 performance of any public duty;


                 (ii) any person in the service or pay of a local authority;




                 (iii) any person in the service or  pay  of  a  corporation
                 established by or under a Central, Provincial or State Act,
                 or an authority or a body owned or controlled or  aided  by
                 the Government  or  a  Government  company  as  defined  in
                 section 617 of the Companies Act, 1956 (1 of 1956);


                 (iv) any Judge, including any person empowered  by  law  to
                 discharge, whether by himself or as a member of any body of
                 persons, any adjudicatory functions;


                 (v) any person authorised by a court of justice to  perform
                 any duty, in connection with the administration of justice,
                 including a liquidator, receiver or commissioner  appointed
                 by such court;


                 (vi) any arbitrator or other person to whom  any  cause  or
                 matter has been referred for decision or report by a  court
                 of justice or by a competent public authority;


                 (vii) any person who holds an office by virtue of which  he
                 is empowered to prepare, publish,  maintain  or  revise  an
                 electoral roll or to conduct an  election  or  part  of  an
                 election;


                 (viii) any person who holds an office by virtue of which he
                 is authorised or required to perform any public duty;


                 (ix) any person who is the president,  secretary  or  other
                 office-bearer  of  a  registered     co-operative   society
                 engaged  in  agriculture,  industry,  trade   or   banking,
                 receiving or having received any  financial  aid  from  the
                 Central Government  or  a  State  Government  or  from  any
                 corporation established by or under a  Central,  Provincial
                 or State Act, or any authority or body owned or  controlled
                 or aided by the  Government  or  a  Government  company  as
                 defined in section 617 of the Companies  Act,  1956  (1  of
                 1956);


                 (x) any person who is a chairman, member or employee of any
                 Service Commission or Board, by whatever name called, or  a
                 member  of  any  selection  committee  appointed  by   such
                 Commission or Board for the conduct of any  examination  or
                 making any selection on behalf of such Commission or Board;




                 (xi) any person who is a       Vice-Chancellor or member of
                 any governing body,  professor,  reader,  lecturer  or  any
                 other teacher or employee, by whatever designation  called,
                 of any University and any person whose services  have  been
                 availed of by a University or any other public authority in
                 connection with holding or conducting examinations;


                 (xii) any person who is an   office-bearer or  an  employee
                 of an educational, scientific, social,  cultural  or  other
                 institution, in whatever manner established,  receiving  or
                 having received any financial assistance from  the  Central
                 Government or any  State  Government,  or  local  or  other
                 public authority.


           Explanation 1.-Persons falling  under  any  of  the  above  sub-
           clauses are public servants, whether appointed by the Government
           or not.


           Explanation 2.-Wherever the words “public servant”  occur,  they
           shall be understood of every person who is in actual  possession
           of the situation of a  public  servant,  whatever  legal  defect
           there may be in his right to hold that situation.”



      The present Act envisages widening of the scope of the  definition  of
the expression ‘public servant’.  It was brought in force to  purify  public
administration.  The legislature has  used  a  comprehensive  definition  of
‘public servant’ to achieve the purpose of punishing and curbing  corruption
among public servants.  Hence,  it  would  be  inappropriate  to  limit  the
contents of the definition clause by a construction which would  be  against
the spirit of  the  statute.   Bearing  in  mind  this  principle,  when  we
consider the case of the appellant, we have no doubt that  he  is  a  public
servant within the meaning of Section 2(c) of the Act.
 Sub-section  (viii)
of Section 2(c) of the present Act makes any person, who holds an office  by virtue of which he is authorized or required to perform any public duty,  to be a public servant.
The word ‘office’ is of  indefinite  connotation  and,
in the present context, it would mean a position or place to  which  certain
duties are attached and  has  an  existence  which  is  independent  of  the
persons who fill it.
Councillors and members of  the  Board  are  positions
which exist under the Rajasthan Municipalities Act.  It  is  independent  of the person who fills it.  They perform  various  duties  which  are  in  the field of public duty.  From the conspectus of what we have  observed  above,
it is evident that appellant is a public servant within  Section  2(c)(viii) of the Prevention of Corruption Act, 1988.

      Now we revert to the  authorities  relied  on  by  Mr.  Adhiyaru  i.e.
R.S.Nayak (supra), Ramesh  Balkrishna  Kulkarni  (supra)  and  T.Thulasingam
(supra). 
In all these decisions, this Court was  considering  the  scope  of
Section 21 of the Indian Penal Code which defines ‘public servant’.  
It  was
necessary to do so as Section 2 of the Prevention of  Corruption  Act,  1947
defined ‘public servant’ to mean as defined under Section 21 of  the  Indian
Penal Code.  
A member of the Board, or for that  matter,  a  Councillor  per
se, may not come within the definition of  the  public  servant  as  defined
under Section 21 of the Indian Penal Code but this does not mean  that  they
cannot be brought in the category of public servant by any other  enactment.

 In the present case, the Municipal Councillor or member of the  Board  does
not come within the definition of public servant as  defined  under  Section
21 of the Indian Penal Code, but in view of the  legal  fiction  created  by
Section 87 of  the  Rajasthan  Municipalities  Act,  they  come  within  its
definition.

      It is an admitted position that in none  of  the  aforesaid  judgments
relied on by the appellant, this Court had considered any provision  similar
to Section 87 of the Rajasthan  Municipalities  Act  and,  therefore,  those
judgments cannot  be  read  to  mean  that  a  Municipal  Councillor  in  no
circumstance can be deemed to be a public servant.
Mr. Adhiyaru points  out
that provisions pari  materia  to  that  of  Section  87  of  the  Rajasthan
Municipalities  Act  did  exist   in   the   respective   enactments   under
consideration in these cases and, therefore, it has to be assumed that  this
Court, while holding that Municipal  Councillors  are  not  public  servant,
must have taken note of the similar  provision.  
However,  in  fairness  to
him, he concedes that such a provision, in fact, has not been considered  in
these judgments.
We are of the opinion that for  ascertaining  the  binding
nature of a judgment, what needs to be seen is  the  ratio.  
The  ratio  of
those cases is that Municipal Councillors  are  not  public  servants  under Section 21 of the Indian Penal  Code.  
 But  Section  87  of  the  Rajasthan Municipalities Act, as discussed above, make Councillor and member of  Board a public servant within the meaning of Section 21 of the Indian Penal  Code.
 Hence, all the judgments of  this  Court  referred  to  above  are  clearly distinguishable.


      Not only this, in the case in hand, we are concerned with the  meaning
of the expression ‘public servant’ as defined  under  Section  2(c)  of  the
Prevention of Corruption Act, 1988 and, hence, decisions  rendered  by  this
Court while interpreting Section 21 of  the  Indian  Penal  Code,  which  in
substance  and  content  are  substantially  different  than  Section   2(c)
aforesaid, shall have no bearing at all for decision in  the  present  case.

As regards the decision of the learned Single Judge of  the  Rajasthan  High
Court in the case of Sumitra Kanthiya (supra), it has  also  not  considered
Section 87 of the Rajasthan Municipalities Act.
 In fact,  to  come  to  the
conclusion  that  the  Municipal  Councillor  would  not  come  within   the
definition of public servant, it has mainly placed reliance  on  a  judgment
of this Court in the case of Ramesh Balkrishna Kulkarni  (supra).   
We  have
considered this judgment in little detail in  the  preceding  paragraphs  of
the judgment and found the same to be distinguishable as the  said  decision
did not consider the statutory provision in  the  present  format.
Further,
the aforesaid case does not lay down an absolute  proposition  of  law  that
Municipal Councillor  in  no  circumstances  can  be  treated  as  a  public
servant.
The learned Judge has also not at all adverted to  Section  87  of
the Rajasthan Municipalities Act as also Section 2(c) of the  Prevention  of Corruption Act, 1988 and, hence, the  judgment  rendered  by  the  Rajasthan High Court in Sumitra Kanthiya (supra) does not lay down the  law  correctly and is, therefore, overruled.


      As the trial is pending since long, we  deem  it  expedient  that  the
learned Judge in seisin of the trial makes an endeavour to  dispose  of  the
trial expeditiously and in no case later than six months from  the  date  of
receipt of a copy of this order.

      In the result, we do not find any  merit  in  the  appeal  and  it  is
dismissed accordingly.



                                                  ……………………..………………………………..J.


                          (CHANDRAMAULI KR. PRASAD)






                                    …….….……….………………………………..J.
                                      (JAGDISH SINGH KHEHAR)


NEW DELHI,
OCTOBER 29, 2013
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