Quashing corruption cases against two government doctors from Punjab, a Supreme Court bench of justice Markandey Katju and justice Gyan Sudha Mishra said on Thursday the government doctors engaged in private practice cannot be prosecuted under the Prevention of Corruption Act (PCA) or other penal laws.
At the most, they can be proceeded with for departmental proceedings under relevant service rules, the bench said, adding PCA of Section 168 of the Indian Penal Code that prohibited government officials from being engaged in unlawful trade could not be invoked against such doctors.
Dr Rajinder Singh Chawla and Dr Kanwarjit Singh Kakkar were booked by Ludhiana Vigilance in 2003 under Sections 13(1)(d), 13(2) of the PCA and Section 168 IPC on the basis of a complaint by one Raman Kumar who alleged the duo engaged in private practice charging Rs 100 as fees from patients.
Describing corruption as “acceptance or demand of illegal gratification for doing an official act”, the Supreme Court said: “the demand/receipt of fee while doing private practice by itself cannot be held to be an illegal gratification as the same obviously is the amount charged towards professional remuneration. [Source: HT]
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