A Supreme Court Bench comprising of Justice T.S. Thakur, Justice Kurian Joseph and Justice R. Bhanumathi has reportedly held that there is no scope for a public official convicted of corruption to reform. His punishment under the Prevention of Corruption Act, 1988 should hence reflect the public’s repugnance for his crime.
“The judgment on sentence shall not shock the common man. It should reflect the public abhorrence of the crime. Misplaced sympathy or unwarranted leniency will send a wrong signal to the public, giving room to suspect institutional integrity, affecting credibility of its verdict,” the Bench observed.
The Court was hearing a case that dealt with a police officer who was caught red handed taking a bribe of Rs. 25,000 in January 2001. The apex Court observed that there is no room for sympathy or leniency towards a public servant convicted of corruption.
Delving into the legislative intent and philosophy behind the punishment for offences under the Act, the Bench said that the Act does not give scope for a corrupt official to reform. Since a public official immediately loses his job after being convicted under the Act, the gets no opportunities to redeem his conduct thereafter.
The Bench further observed that the objective of punishment under the Act is deterrence and denunciation.