A bribe of Rs 100 cost a former senior clerk with the Maharashtra government not only time in prison, but also 17 years of wait to get his case heard in the high court and his pension.
Chandrakant Patil (name changed), 74, had filed an appeal before the Bombay high court in 1998 after a sessions court sentenced him to one-and-a-half year in jail for taking the bribe. The appeal, however, is still to be heard.
The high court had first kept the case for hearing in 2004, but it did not come up.
Later, in 2005, while hearing an application for an early hearing, justice AM Khanvilkar recorded that as the appeal had been pending for several years, it should be placed for final hearing in the week commencing from January 23, 2006. This, too, did not take place.
Patil was arrested in 1989 by the anti-corruption bureau (ACB) while taking a bribe of Rs 100. At that time, he was working with the government office of a junior scientist in Nashik and was in charge of clearing bills and payments.
He took the money from a peon, whose medical bill was pending. Out of the Rs 100, Patil was to get half, while the rest of the money was to go his colleague, who was acquitted of all charges by the sessions court.
Nine years later, a sessions court convicted him under sections of the Prevention of Corruption Act. The clerk then filed an appeal against his conviction in the high court.
In 2007, Patil wrote to the Chief Justice of India requesting him to direct the Bombay high court to take up his appeal for final hearing.
Patil is still hopeful for the court reprieve, so that he can get back his pension, which has been stalled ever since his arrest.