Himachal High Court Upholds Conviction of Former Bureaucrat SM Katwal

Shimla: A High Court division bench here has upheld the conviction of SM Katwal, a former chairman of HP Subordinate Services Commission, in a case about forging of mark lists of a job applicant, to wrongfully include him into the merit list.

Announcing the order, Justice Surjit Singh and Justice Kuldip Singh upheld the lower courts order under sections 468 and 471 of IPC that has awarded rigorous imprisonment for one year each and Rs. 1000/- fine each for the two offences.

However, the conviction u/s 13 (2) Prevention of Corruption Act and Sections 218, 465 IPC has been set aside. The court also dismissed the appeal of the state government for enhancement of sentence.

The case pertained to the filling of vacancies of Vidya Upasak in the education department for the year 2000.

Katwal was charged with forging the marks list for monetary gains whereas the accused took the plea that he was being falsely implicated because of political vendetta and denied any overwriting in mark sheets of the applicant candidates.

Marks of 6 candidates were said to have been increased through overwriting. Whereas viva-voice marks of 5 candidates has been increased without altering the total but it was proved in the court there was one candidate whose marks had been increased both in viva voce and in the total, to include him into the final merit list.

The court held the view that the accused changed the marks of Zalam Singh, one of the candidates, to grant him wrongful gain and include him into the final merit list and thereby committed offence of forgery punishable u/s 468 IPC as the forgery was committed, with a view to cheat the education department.

The award list was used for the purpose of cheating, which is punishable u/s 471 IPC.

However, the accused cannot be said to have committed criminal misconduct u/s 13(2) Prevention of corruption Act as his act is not covered by Section 13(1) of said Act because he is not shown to have obtained any valuable or pecuniary advantage for himself or any other person.

His conviction u/s 218 IPC was also set aside, because that is not a case of preparation of incorrect record, but a case of forgery.

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