New Delhi, November 23
A Delhi court has awarded a 5-year jail term to a former special metropolitan magistrate in a bribery case, saying that people will lose faith in the justice delivery system if adequate punishment was not given to him.
Accused R P Bhatia, 70, worked as a special metropolitan magistrate (littering), central zone, while committing the offence in 2015.
On August 18, 2015, the CBI had laid a trap on the complaint of a shop owner and caught Bhatia taking bribe and recovered Rs 25,000 from a bag kept inside his chamber adjoining the courtroom.
“At the time of commission of offence, convict was discharging judicial functions while sitting on the dais in the Court room. He was 65 years old at the time of commission of offence.
“Considering the nature of the office convict was holding, people will lose faith in the justice delivery system if adequate punishment is not awarded,” Special CBI judge Santosh Snehi Mann noted.
The judge said the convict was a mature person and had served in “an elite government institution like Planning Commission of India in the past,” and a high moral conduct was expected of him.
“Any leniency in the sentence will be an act of misplaced sympathy which will undermine the rule of law in the eyes of a common man,” the court said in its order passed on November 19.
In her judgement, the judge highlighted that the prosecution witnesses had been consistent and reliable in their deposition, proving that following a specific demand raised by the accused, tainted money was placed and recovered from his chamber.
According to the CBI, the accused had ‘challaned’ the complainant, a shop owner at Alaknanda market in south Delhi, during an inspection on August 10, 2015, and had asked the complainant to appear before his court at Lajpat Nagar.
When the complainant reached the court, the magistrate demanded Rs 60,000 for settling the case. The complainant negotiated the amount and settled for Rs 25,000.
The accused had claimed innocence and said he was framed as the shopkeepers of the area wanted to prevent him from carrying out his duties. — PTI