Patna HC Refuses to Grant Anticipatory Bail to VC of Magadh University


Paridhi Arya

Published on May 30, 2022 at 19:24 IST

Single Judge Bench of Justice Ashutosh Kumar held that protection of Section 17A of Prevention of Corruption Act (PC Act) is provided only to those public servants who perform their duty honestly and not the ones who are corrupt.

The Court denied anticipatory bail to the Vice Chancellor of Magadh University, Dr. Rajendra Prasad who filed a Petition seeking anticipatory bail and quashing of FIR, lodged last year.

The contention made by the accused is that prosecutor didn’t observe Section 17A which is mandatory. The Court held that this provision to protect the public servant from baseless allegations.

“The protective shield is for an honest public servant and not for a corrupt one…There is a clear division between those acts which constitute an offence and those acts, though done while discharging the official duties of the public servant, but which do not constitute an act done in exercise of official duties or functions,” the Judge observed.

The case was filed against the applicant as by conspiracy he ordered the e-books and OMR answer sheets from two private companies without following the legal procedure such as tender etc. and due to this cheating he had acquired many movable and immovable assets.

These E-books are not even used as in Veer Kunwar Singh University where the applicant was finance officer as they don’t have any system to store it.

The FIR was registered under Section 120B and 420B of IPC read with Section 12 read with Section 13(i) and Section 13(ii) of the PC Act.

The applicant referred the judgement of Rafale case, for which Court clarified that“Such an observation in Yashwant Sinha, cannot be read as an omnibus protective cover to any public servant accused of committing a criminal act under the garb of performing official duty.”

“Moreover, the Apex Court, in that instance, had not opined that the protection under Section 17A of the Act was an omnibus protection, without following the test of the alleged offence being in the nature of recommendation or the decision taken being in discharge of official duty.”

“Thus, the observation is only a passing reference in the nature of a sidewind, which does not sweep away the established parameters under the Act, which has been explained by the Apex Court for claiming protection under Section 17A of the Act,” the Court said.

The Bench had an opinion that the applicant had not performed his duties honestly and so when the case of financial irregularities arise the impact on the society should be kept in mind.

“Regard being had to the overt act of the petitioner in causing huge financial losses to the state exchequer, the possibility of the petitioner tampering with the witnesses and the evidence and the magnitude of dishonesty by a person holding an office as high as that of a Vice Chancellor of the University which is considered to be a temple of learning, this Court is not persuaded to admit the petitioner to anticipatory bail,” the Court ordered.

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