1. What constitutes the offence



1.1 A Public Servant is said to commit the offence of Criminal Misconduct (of possession of disproportionate assets), “if he or any person on his behalf, is in possession or has, at any time during the period of his office, been in possession for which the public servant cannot satisfactorily account, of pecuniary resources or property disproportionate to his known sources of income”, as laid down under clause (e) of sub-sec.(1) of sec.13 of the Prevention of Corruption Act, 1988.

1.2 A public servant thus renders himself liable under this provision —
(i) if he or any person on his behalf –
(a) is in possession of pecuniary resources or property;
(b) at any time during the period of his service;
(ii) if such pecuniary resources or property are disproportionate to his known sources of income;
(iii) if he cannot satisfactorily account for such disproportion.

1.3 The offence on the part of the public servant is his being in possession of assets disproportionate to his known sources of income and his not being able to account for the disproportion. The public servant commits the offence by no specific act of his, nor on any particular day relatable to any act of his. He commits the offence not merely by acquiring assets but by being in possession of assets and such assets of which he is in possession being disproportionate to his known sources of income. Acquisition of assets or possession thereof per se does not constitute an offence.

1.4 The assets are disproportionate, if on a given date chosen for the purpose, they are found to exceed the total savings he meeting the total expenditure incurred by him. It is an offence only if the assets are disproportionate to his known sources of income.

1.5 The date of commission of the offence is the day chosen for the purpose, on which date it is established that the public servant is in possession of disproportionate assets whatever be the dates of acquisition of the assets.

1.6 This is a unique provision in the Prevention of Corruption Act, the possession of disproportionate assets itself constituting an offence of criminal misconduct, based on the unstated presumption that the assets to the extent they are disproportionate are acquired by corrupt or illegal means or by abuse of official position, without requirement of any proof thereof.