Karunaraine v. The Queen
1986 Present: T. S. Fernando, J., and Sri Skanla Rajah, J.K.H. M. H. KARUNARATNE, Appellant, and THE QUEEN,Respondent
S.C. 1 of I960—D. C. (Crim.) Colombo, Bji
Bribery Act—Jurisdiction of District Court in respect of offences committed prior
to amending Act of 1965—Ingredients of offences falling within clauses (b) and(c) of s. 19—“ Official act "—“ Authorised by lata or the terms of employment toreceive ”—Penal Code, s. 15S—Bribery Act, as amended by Acts Nos. 40 of 195Sand 2 of 1965, ss. 14, 19, 31, 79, 90.
An offence of bribery falling within section 19 of the Bribery Act (Cap. 26,as amended by Act No. 40 of 1958) is triable by a District Court in terms ofsection 15 of the Bribery (Amendment) Act No. 2 of 1965 even if the offence
Karunaratne v. The Queen
was committed prior to the date when the amending Act of 1965 conferringjurisdiction on District Courts was passed in consequence of the constitutionalinvalidity of Bribery Tribunals appointed previously under the principal Act.
“ Performing an official act ” within the meaning of section 19 (6) of theBribery Act is not restricted to the performance of those acts which a publicservant is required by law to perform, but “ embraces all those acts which hedoes which are referable to his official capacity of a public servant or which,according to recognised and prevailing practice, ho does as a public servant
The offenco contemplated in section 19 (c), rend with section 90, of thoBribery Act (as amended by Act No. 40 of 1958) is the solicitation oracceptance of a gratification by a public servant when ho is engaged in hiscapacity of a public servant upon the performance of his duties os such publicservant.
Tho accused-appellant, who was a polico constable, was charged in thoDistrict Court of Colombo with having solicited on 2nd October 1961, whilohe was a public servant, a gratification of Rs. 100 from one P as an induce-ment for performing an official act, to wit, making a report favourable to Pin regard to an accident in which P was involved as driver of a car. Ho wasalso charged on another count of the indictment with having solicited thogratification “ which you were not authorised by law or tho terms of youremployment to receive ”. The first charge related to an act falling withinclause (6) of section 19 of tho Bribery Act, whi'.o the second charge referredto an act falling within cluuse (c) of the same section (as amended by ActNo. 40 of 1958).
Tho ovidcnco showed that tho accused, as investigating police officer, had tomake a report about tho accident to another police officer who ultimatelyfurnished a report to anyone interested in the accident, e.g. an insurancocompany. P was anxious to sec that tho claim for repairs to his car would bomot by the insuranco company. Tho accused told him that he would submita favourable report only if P would give him Rs. 100.
Held, (i) that the case was triable by a District Court in terms of section 15of the Bribery (Amendment) Act, No. 2 of 1965, although the offences werecommitted on the 2nd October 1961, before tho amending Act came intooporation.
that the making of tho report by the investigating officer was an officialact within the meaning of section 19 (6) of the Bribery Act.
that tho evidence established that the accused solicited a gratificationwhen acting as a public servant and not in his personal or private capacity.He was therefore guilty of an offcnco under section 19 (e) of the Bribery Act.
Where evidence of a telephono conversation was led in the form of a documentwhich purported to be a transcript of the tape-recorded conversation, andthe tape recorder itself was played in court—
Held, that the admission of evidence of a wire-recorded speech is not repug-nant to our law of evidence. But tho Court sljould havo considered the evidenceof an expert who stated at tho trial that (1). there are dangers in attempting toidentify speakers by their voices' as relayed through tape-recorders and (2)the dangers attendant upon such identification are greater in a case wherewhat is relayed is a telephone conversation. There was, however, otherindependent evidence sufficient to establish the guilt of the accused.
T. S. FERNANDO, J.—Karunaratne v. The Queen
.A. PPEAL from a judgment of the District Court, Colombo.
G. E. Chilly, Q.C., with E. R. S. R. Coomaraswamy, M. Underwood,M. D. K. Kulathunga and N. Wijenathan, for the Accused-Appellant.
N. Titlawela, Crown Counsel, for the Crown.
Our. adv. vidt.
July 28, 1966. T. S. Fernando, J.—
This is an appeal from a conviction by the District Court of an offenceunder the Bribery Act (Cap. 26), as amended by Acts Nos. 40 of 1958 and2 of 1965.
The appellant who, at the date of the offence alleged, was a policeconstable of the Traffic Branch of the Colombo Police, was indicted ontwo charges, both punishable under section 19 of the Bribery Act. Inview of certain points of law raised on the appeal it becomes necessaryto reproduce below in extenso the two charges as they appeared in theindictment:—
That on or about the 2nd day of October 1961 at Colombo you,
being a public servant, to wit, a police constable, did solicit agratification of a sum of Rs. 100 from one B. Piyasena as aninducement for performing an official act, to wit, making areport favourable to Piyasena in regard to an accident in whichthe said Piyasena was involved as driver of car No. EY 6939on the said date, and that you are thereby guilty of an offencepunishable under section 19 of the Bribery Act.
That on the date and at the place aforesaid, you, being a public
servant, to wit, a police constable, did solicit from one
Piyasena a gratification of a sum of Rs. 100 which you werenot authorised by law or the terms of your employment toreceive, and that you are thereby guilty of an offence punishableunder section 19 of the Bribery Act.
The first charge relates to an act falling within clause (6) of section19, while the second refers to an act within clause (c) of the same section.The Bribery Act was enacted in 1954 (Act No.. 11 of 1954), and section19 thereof penalised only the acts described in clauses (a) and (b). Thepunishment then prescribed for an offence under this section was rigorousimprisonment for a term of not more than seven years or a fine notexceeding five thousand rupees or both. And Act No. 11 of 1954 providedfor a person accused of an offence punishable under section 19 to be triedeither by a District Court (section 31) or before a Board of Inquiry(section 47).
T. S. FERNANDO, J.—Karunaralne v. The Queen
Act No. 11 of 1954 was amended by the Bribery (Amendment) ActNo. 40 of 1958 by the inclusion in section 19 of a third clause (c) whichthen created a third offence of bribery, and it is an offence of this kindthat was alleged in the second charge of the indictment. The 1958Amendment by repealing section 31 of the 1954 Act deprived the DistrictCourts of jurisdiction to try offences of bribery falling within the BriberyAct and also declared such offences triable exclusively by a BriberyTribunal constituted in the manner provided by the amended section41 or by a Commission of Inquiry.
The Bribery Act was further amended by the (Amendment) Act No. 2of 1965 which altered the sentence in respect of convictions for offencespunishable under section 19 to rigorous imprisonment for a term of notmore than seven years and a fine not exceeding five thousand rupees.Thus, in respect of sentence, this latest amendment made imprisonmentand fine obligatory' whereas before that there was an option in the courtin respect of punishment that could have been imposed. The 1965Amendment also repealed Part IV of the original (1954) Act whichrelated to Boards of Inquiry so that these Boards came to be abolished.Along with that abolition, the jurisdiction of the District Court wasrevived and made compulsory, and not merely optional as it had beenfrom 1954 to 1958.—see S. 15 of Act No. 2 of 1965.
At the trial, the appellant was acquitted on the first charge but con-victed on the second. It is somewhat difficult to understand this result,but this aspect of the case will, however, be dealt with by me later on inthis judgment. I have first to deal with a question of law raised byMr. Chitty. Relying on the acquittal on the first charge (against which,I must mention, no appeal has been preferred to this Court by the Crown),he has argued that in respect of the second and only charge of which theappellant has been convicted the District Court had no jurisdiction totry the offence as it was one falling within section 19 (c) of the Act andcommitted prior to the 1965 (Amendment) Act. The date of the com-mission of the offence alleged was set out in the indictment as the 2ndOctober 1961. The argument was to the effect that at the time ofthe commission of the offence the only court or tribunalcontemplated by the Bribery Act as being competent to try the appellanton this charge was a Bribery Tribunal. Certain offences punishable underChapter IX of the Penal Code, of course, remained triable by the courts,but we are not concerned here with any such offence. Relying on thedecision of this Court in Senadhira u. The Bribery Commissioner1 thatdeclared the power given to a Bribery Tribunal by section 66 (1) of theBribery Act, No. 11 of 1954 (as amended by Act No. 40 of 1958) uncons-titutional for the reason that members of the Bribery Panel were notappointed by the Judicial Service Commission, counsel went on to contendthat between the enactment of the 1958 Amendment and the 1965Amendment there was no validly constituted body with legal power
(1961) 64 N. L. R. 313.
T. S. FERNANDO, J.—Karunaratne o. The Queen
to convict the appellant or to punish him. Act No. 2 of 1965 made alloffences under the Act triable by District Courts and imposed a validlyenforceable penalty ; but, in counsel’s submission, this does not haveretrospective operation. Counsel did contend that under this latestAmendment cognizance could have been taken by the District Courtof offences in contravention of section 19 (c) only where the offenceshave been committed after that Amendment came into force.
It was apparent throughout that counsel’s entire argument on thepoint above outlined depended on the validity of a proposition he putforward, viz. that an offence is something which is prohibited on pain of alegally valid enforceable penalty or sanction. According to the argument, ifthere was not at the time (2.10.19G1) the alleged offence was committeda person or body of persons that could have validly taken cognizanceof the offence and imposed an enforceable penalty, thero was really nooffence punishable under the Bribery Act which the appellant could havebeen charged with or of which he could have been convicted. I amunable to agree that the argument so advanced is sound. By an offenceis meant an act or omission made punishable by law. This much is thesubstantive part of the law and must not be confused with its proceduralpart. That the machinery devised for trial and punishment is illegal,unconstitutional or otherwise defective cannot have the effect of renderingsuch act or omission not an offence. If the argument is valid, wherea new offence is created by an Act of Parliament which also prescribes anew tribunal to be established under that very Act for trial and punish-ment of that offence, then, inasmuch as some time must necessarilyelapse between the Act coming into force and the establishment of thenew tribunal, no offence under that Act would bo committed by anyoneuntil such time as the tribunal is validly established. A proposition ofthat nature would be entirely unmaintainable. The true position inlaw would be that the commission, at any time after the Act has comeinto force, of the act or omission prohibited constitutes an offence, buttrial in respect of it and punishment therefor must await the constitutionof the valid tribunal. The argument that thero was no offence incontravention – of section 19 (c) before the coming into operation ofAct No. 2 of 1965 fails.
In the view I have taken of the main point of law relied on byMr. Chitty, I need hardly deal with the subsidiary' point that Act No. 2of 1965 has no retrospective operation. It is sufficient to refer to the rulethat “ the presumption against a retrospective construction has noapplication to enactments which affect only the procedure and practiceof the courts, even where the alteration which the statute makes has beendisadvantageous to one of the parties. It matters not that the effectof a procedural alteration is to make a prosecution under a penal Actpossible, where formerly it had been impossible. Although to make alaw punish that which, at a time when it was done, was not punishable,is contrary to sound principle, a law which merely alters the proceduremay, with perfect propriety, be made applicable to past as well as future
T. S. FERNANDO, J.—Karunaratne v. The Queen
transactions, and no secondary meaning is to be sought for an enactmentof such a kind. No person has a vested right in any course of procedure—Maxwell on The Interpretation of Statutes (11th edition!, p. 216.
I can now turn to the facts. Shortly stated, the relevant facts arethose set down below :—
The witness Piyasena was, on 2.10.61, driving a car No. E' 6939belonging to his brother-in-'aw when, at the junction of Dickman’sRoad with Havelock Road, at a time when he had halted the car asrequired by traffic light signals, a car coming behind his knocked intothe rear of his car. Section 161 of the Motor Traffic Act, 1951 (Gap. 203)requires a driver of a motor vehicle to report an accident forthwith to theofficer in charge of the nearest police station. The officer in charge ofsuch police station has a duty to investigate or cause to be investigatedwhether an offence in contravention of the Motor Traffic Act or any otherlaw has been committed. The appellant’s superior officer, InspectorImbuldeniya, stated that when an accident occurs the investigatingofficer makes a report on it to the officer in charge, and at the request ofany insurance company a report is furnished by the police on paymentof a small fee.
The accident was reported to the Police, and the appellant and anotherpolice constable were the police officers sent to investigate thereon. OnPiyasena’s version of the accident he would not appear to have been inthe fault, but he did say in evidence that the appellant took a differentview as to which of the two drivers was to blame. Piyasena was anxiousto see that the claim for repairs to the car would be met by the insurancecompany. According to him, after certain questions had been put andmeasurements had been taken, the appellant told him that he wouldhelp him in the filling up of the necessary forms relating to the insurancecompany if Piyasena would give him Rs. 100. As he was unable tofind the money that day he informed the appellant of his situation.On the next day (3.10.61) he went to the office of the insurance companyand informed witness David, the Claims Officer of the company of therequest for money made by the appellant. David alerted a certainPolice Officer who directed Piyasena to the Department of the BriberyCommissioner. It was there arranged that Piyasena should telephone tothe Fort Police station and ask to speak to the appellant and then carryon a conversation in respect of the accident and the request for money.
Piyasena again saw the appellant on 4.10.61 and told him he had notyet got togethor sufficient money whereupon the appellant told him thathe would be prosecuted if the money is not given and that he could“ change the plans and everything
The telephone conversation that was arranged for on 3.10.61 did takeplace three days later, on 6.10.61, and this was tapped and recorded on atape-recorder. Thereafter, the Bribery Department made arrangementsfor Piyasena to go over to the Fort Police station and make payment to
T. S. FERNANDO, J.—Karunaratne v. The Queen
the appellant of the sum of money asked for. Although Piyasena didgo over as arranged, the passing of the money did not take place. It isnot clear from the evidence whether the trap set failed because of bunglingby Inspector Imbuldeniya whose part it was to witness the passing of themoney or because the appellant had become wary by this time.
Evidence of the telephone conversation of G. 10.61 was led in the formof a document which purported to be a transcript of the tape-recordedconversation. Further, the tape recorder itself was played in court.An objection taken at the trial to the admission of evidence in this formas well as to playing of the tape recordor in court was overruled by thelearned trial judge. No argument was addressed to us that the documentin the form it was put in was inadmissible. Mr. Cliitty did say that hewas refraining from submitting such an argument, but he did contendthat the playing of the tape recorder in court was not sanctioned by anyknown law of evidence or procedure and was illegal. I am unable-to-agree. I might here mention that the case of Abu Bakr v. The Queen 1shows that oven in this Country the admission of evidence of a wire-recorded speech has been held to be not repugnant to our law of evidence.In that case too an argument had been addressed to the court that theplaying of the wire-recorder in the hearing of the court was contrary tolaw, but, in the view the Court took about the admissibility of theevidence of the person who had recorded the speech in the form of a docu-ment when it was reproduced by the playing of the instrument, the Courtdid not consider it necessary to rule upon the argument. In regard tothe contention of Mr. Chitty set out above, I think a reference to therecent decision of the English Court of Criminal Appeal in R. v. MaqsudAH 2 will show that where this question arises in England the answer isthat there is no illegality in the procedure of playing a tape recorderbefore the Court. As Marshall J. put it (vide p. 471), “ Having a trans-cript of a tape recording is, on any view, a most obvious convenienceand a great aid to the jury, otherwise a recording would have to beplayed over and over again. Provided a jury is guided by what theyhear themselves and on that they base their ultimate decision, wo seeno objection to a copy of a transcript, properly proved, being put beforethem.” It was sought to contend that the position is not the sameunder our Evidence Ordinance, but I remain unconvinced that there isany difference on this point between the English law and ours.
It was next urged on behalf of the appellant that, before the tape-recorded evidence was acted upon, the trial judge should have consideredthe evidence of an expert the defence called at the trial to prove, inter alia,that (1) there are dangers in attempting to identify speakers by theirvoices as relayed through tape-recorders and (2) the dangers attendantupon such identification are greater in a case where what is relayed isa telephone conversation, and that too a tapped telephone conversation.
I think the criticism made in this regard is just. Although the •
1 (1953) 54 N. L. R. 566.
• (1965) 2 A. E. R. 464 at 471.
T. S. FERNANDO, J.—Karunaratne v. The Queen
trial judge has expressly accepted the evidence of Piyasena and impliedlyaccepted the evidence of Inspector Imbuldeniya, he has not thought itworth while to say a word about the evidence of the expert. The accept-ance of the evidence of these two witnesses should have been reachedonly after a consideration of the expert’s evidence. Piyasena claimedthat ho identified that voice of the appellant. Imbuldeniya was quitefamiliar with his subordinate’s voice, but what he said in evidence was thattho voice ho heard was like that of the accused ”, I am unable, however,to conclude that this omission on the part of tho trial judge vitiatesthe finding of fact that it was the appellant who solicited a sum of moneyon tho date alleged in the charge, viz. 2.10.(51. The actual solicitationcharged was that of 2.10.01 : tho telephone conversation was one madeon 6.10.01, and was relevant principally as corroborative evidencetouching identity. A finding as to solicitation on 2.10.01 dependedmainly upon tho evidence of Piyasena supported as it was by Sumanasona,his companion at tho time of the accident. Both these witnesses werebelieved by tho trial judge. The judgment- is, no doubt, skimpy onthe point, but, where Piyasena and Sumanasena have been believed, itmust follow that the solicitation by the appellant has been established.
That the solicitation was established in the opinion of the trial judgeis further demonstrated by tho verdict of guilty reached on tho second’charge. Moreover, section 79 of tho Bribery Act requires that the giverof a gratification shall not bo regarded as an accomplice. Why then didthe learned judge find that tho first chargo was not proved ? It is herethat his statement of reasons is most unhelpful. It is necessary in myopinion to remind trial judges that section 30G of the Criminal ProcedureCode requires them to stato in their judgment the reasons for tho decisionon the point or points for determination. There is, therefore, some justi-fication for tho criticism of learned counsel that this judgment is no morethan “ an extended verdict ”. In a case of importance to person chargedand prosecutor alike, and a bribery case-is invariably one such, a trialjudgo owes a duty to tho parties to address himself with care to jjl the-points, particularly those on which an appeal lies to this Court.
In regard to the first charge, the learned judge has stated that lie wasnot satisfied that the evidence supports tho charge, but has not stated thereasons for that- conclusion. As a finding that a sum of Rs. 100 was soli-cited is implicit in the judgment, the acquittal on this charge must haveresulted from a conclusion he reached that he was not satisfied that thissum of money was solicited as an inducement for performing an officialact, or, in other words, that the making of a report in regard to theaccident was not anofficial act-. Even if there was no statutory duty on theappellant or, for that matter, on any polic-o officer to furnish a report toan insurance company in respect of a motor accident, the unchallengedevidence was that the investigating officer has to make a report to hissuperior officer, and this report is obviously the basis of any subsequentreport furnished by the police station concerned to the insurance companyor companies interested in the matter of the accident.
T. S. FERNANDO, J.—Karunaraine v. The Queen
The trial judge has, I fear, misdirected himself in regard to the meaningof an “ official act ” in the statute. He appears to have treated an officialact as being limited to an act which a public servant is required by lawto perform. It has, of course, a wider moaning. Some guidance as to itsmeaning can be obtained by examining tho argument before the PrivyCouncil and tho judgment of their Lordships in the case of AUorney-Gencral of Ceylon v. de Liuera1 in which tho expression in his capacity assuch member ” occurring in section 14 of the Bribery Act came to beinterpreted. The Supreme Court had placed on that expression (videP>:1 !. L. E. 25) a restrictive meaning when it held that a member of theBouse of Representatives cannot be regarded as acting “ in his capacityas such member ” except when he is exercising the functions of his officeas such member, and that it is confined to those cases in which a memberdoes an act which ho is able to do only by virtue of the legal powersvested in him as a member and which act he would not be able to performbut for tho fact that he is a member. This restrictive meaning was notapproved, tho Privy Council stating that it puts too limited a constructionon tho words of the Act and might in some cases result in defeatingtho intontion expressed by those words. As Viscount Radoliffe putit, “ To mako tho result dopend upon an inquiry into the range of the‘ exclusive ’ powers and duties of a Member of Parliament is likely tohang it. solely upon the actual written provisions of the prevailingConstitution, and to do this may require a virtual ignoring of the plain factsof a particular case. Where the facts show clearly, as they do here, that aMember of Parliament has come into or been brought into a matter ofgovernment action that affects his constituency, that his intervention isattributed to his membership, and that it is the recognised and prevail-ing practice that the government department concerned should consult thelocal M.P. and invite his views, their Lordships think that the actionthat lie takes in approaching the Minister or his Department is taken byhim ‘ in his capacity as such member ’ within tho meaning of section14 (a) of the Bribery Act. ”
Similarly, “ performing an official act ” is not, in my opinion, restrictedto the performance of those acts which a public servant is required bylaw to perform, but embraces all those acts which he does which arereferable to his official capacity of a public servant or which, according torecognised and prevailing practice, ho does as a public servant. If, as isthe case here, the investigating police officer has to make a report to theofficer in charge who ultimately furnishes a report to anyone interested,e.g., an insurance company, then the making of that report by theinvestigating officer is, in my opinion, an official act within the meaningof section 19. That being my opinion, it would follow that the appellantshould have been convicted of the first charge. As, however, there isno appeal before us canvassing the acquittal, we have no power to alterthe order made thereon at the trial.
1 (1963) A. C. 103 ; (1962) 64 N. L. R. 409.
T. S. FERNANDO, J.—Karunaratnc v. The Queen
In respect of the second charge of which the appellant has been con-victed, Mr. Chitty complains, again not without justification, that itwould appear that the trial judge has once again misapprehended aquestion of law, this time the naturo of the offence charged. The secondcharge is referred to by the learned judge as " a straight-forward chargethat the accused being a public servant did solicit from Pivasena agratification of Es. 100”. He gees on to say i! this solicitation isitself an offence ”. If by this he meant that all that the prosecution hadto prove was that the public servant did solicit a gratification, I fear thatone element of the offence under section 19 (c) has been overlooked.••'Gratification” has been the subject of definition in the Act (vide. section 90), but throughout carries with it hero a sinister and not aninnocent connotation. If the words “ any gratification which he is notauthorised by law or the terms of his employment to roeeivo ” are giventhe widest possible interpretation of which they are capable, then apublic servant who accepts a personal gift from a friend, relative orneighbour, or for that matter a birthday present from his wife, would boguilty of an offence under the Act. It would be absurd to have to reduceonoself to the position that- such gifts are within the mischiefs which theAct was designed to punish. Some limitation upon the wide words of thesection was obviously intended by the Legislature. However widethe words of a statute may appear to be, they must be given an inter-pretation that accords with the intention of the Legislature. This rule ofinterpretation is formulated in Maxwell, ibid, at pp. 58-59 as follows :—
“It is in the interpretation of general words and phrases that theprinciple of strictly adapting the meaning to the particular subject-matter with reference to which the words are used finds its mostfrequent application. However wide in the abstract, they are moreor less elastic, and admit of restriction or expansion to suit the subject-matter. ’ While expressing truly enough all that the legislatureintended, they frequently express more in their literal meaning andnatural force ; and it is necessary to give them the meaning which bestsuits the scope and object of the Statute without extending to groundforeign to the intention. It is, therefore, a canon of interpretationthat all words, if they be general and not express and precise, are to berestricted to the fitness of the matter.”
An examination of this part of the section—19 (c)—makes it apparentthat what is penalised is the solicitation or acceptance of a gratificationother than a legal gratification. This is therefore an indication that thispart of the section contemplates occasions when a legal gratification maybe accepted, but there is a solicitation or an acceptance of a gratification
T. S. FERNANDO, J.—Karunaratne v. The Queen
other than a legal gratification. These must necessarily be occasionswhen the person soliciting or accepting the gratification is acting as apublic servant. The mischief which this part of the section was designedto prevent is that of soliciting or accepting a gratification when acting asa public servant, i.e., when the public servant is engaged in his capacity ofa public servant upon the performance of his duties as such publicservant.
Even if the learned trial judge had misapprehended the true meaningof section 19 (c), it is competent now to the Crown, in resisting the appealfrom the conviction, to maintain it by showing that the evidence acceptedby the trial judge established that the solicitation was done on the occa-sion of the appellant acting as a police constable or when he was engagedupon the performance of the duties of or was acting in the capacity of apolice constable. The act was clearly referable to his official capacityand was not done in his personal or private capacity. This the Crown has,
• in my opinion, succeeded in doing, and I would therefore affirm theconviction on the second charge and dismiss this appeal.
After this judgment came to be written; my attention was drawn to adecision of two judges of this Couvt in a case also of offences under section19 (b) and (c) of the Bribery Act delivered after the date on which wereserved our judgment on this appeal. I refer to S. C. Appe.v1 No. 2 of1966—D. C. (Crim.) Matale No. CRM/1/B2—S. C. M. of 11.7.1966. 1We have, of course, not heard argument of counsel in respect of thisdecision, but, subject to that qualification, I think it necessary here tostate that I am quite unable, with due respect to the opinion expressed bythese two learned judges, to agree with the interpretation there containedof (a) the expression ‘ official act ’ or (b) the scope of section 19 (c). I feelbound to observe, again with much respect, that the decision appears tooverlook the fact that the Bribery Act was intended, inter aha, to penaliseacts which this Court had ruled (e.g. in Da Zoysa v. Subaiveera 2 andTennekoon v. Dissanayake 3) were outside the ambit of section 15S of thePenal Code. In the last mentioned of these cases, Gratiaon J., echoing thewords of the Chief Justice of Madras in a case under the correspondingsoction of the Indian Penal Code, had observed that "it is time thatfresh legislation was introduced into the Penal Code to make these mostdangerous offences of giving and talcing bribes punishable in much widerterms than are contained in the Code at present. ”
Sri Skanda Rajah, J.—I agree.
l(1966) 68 N. L. R. 594.8 (1941) 42 N. L. R, 357.
3 (1948) 50 N. L. R. 403.
K. H. M. H. KARUNARATNE, Appellant, and THE QUEEN, Respondent