1. In this case the accused was convicted of driving a motor vehicle without a license, an offence punishable under Section 16 of the Indian Motor Vehicles Act, 1914. Instead, however, of passing any sentence on the accused, the Second Glass Magistrate released him on a probation of good conduct under Section 562, Criminal Procedure Code. The District Magistrate refers the case to us on the ground that Section 562, Sub-section (1), applies only to offences punishable with imprisonment, whereas the offence under Section 16 of the Indian Motor Vehicles Act was punishable with fine only, and, therefore, the Second Glass Magistrate had no authority to pass the order he did.
2. It is contended by Mr. Nadkarni for the accused that, inasmuch as the offence punishable with fine can become an offence punishable with imprisonment in default of payment of fine, it is covered by this Sub-section (1) of Section 562, Criminal Procedure Code, and also that there is no adequate ground why such a case should not equally be subject to the provisions of this section. It seems to me, however, that the legislature in using the words ' an offence punishable with imprisonment ' must be taken to contemplate an offence primarily punishable with imprisonment. Had it been intended that an offence, punishable with tine only, should also be within the scope of this sub-section, they would have added some such words as ' or of an offence punishable with fine only,' which is an expression constantly used (see, for instance, Section 67, Indian Penal Code). Furthermore, I think the use of the word 'released' in the sub-section points to the object of the section being to prevent an offender's committal to jail, in the circumstances mentioned in the sub-section, and that it was not intended to cover cases where the offender is merely ordered to pay a fine. Therefore, in the absence of words which clearly show that an offence punishable with fine only comes within the scope of the sub-section, we think the order of the Second Class Magistrate is illegal.
3. We, therefore, set aside the Second Class Magistrate's order, except as to the delivery of certain property to one Nigappa, As regards the sentence, it appears that the accused with others interfered with a standing car and started it accidentally, and that the accused then tried to stop it, but the car dashed into a wall. There was certainly considerable danger in thus interfering with the car. In the circumstances of the case, we think the accused should be sentenced to pay a fine of Rs. 20, and in default to suffer a fortnight's simple imprisonment.