1. The learned Sessions Judge of North Satara, at Satara, has made a reference to this Court, recommending that the conviction of the two accused for an offence under Section 42(b), Electricity Act, 1910, in criminal case No. 513 of 1953 of the file of the Civil Judge and Judicial Magistrate, 1st Class, Wai, be set aside. One Dr. Prabhakar Shankar Marathe of Wai filed a complaint against the two accused charging them with having cut off the electrical connection to his house on the 28th, 29th and 30th January 1953 on the ground of leakage in the wiring system jn his premises, and thereby having committed an offence under Section 42(b), Electricity Act.
The complaint was filed in the Court of the Civil Judge and. Judicial Magistrate, First Class, Wai. The learned Magistrate issued notice to the two accused, and after a summary trial held the complaint proved, and convicted the two accused of an offence under Section 42(b), Electricity Act for discontinuing the supply of electrical energy in the complainant's house without reasonable cause.
The learned Magistrate directed each of the accused to pay a fine Rs. 25/- and in default of payment of fine suffer simple imprisonment for two days. The two accused preferred a revision application to the Court of Session at Satara; and the learned Sessions Judge has referred their case to this Court recommending that the conviction of the accused be quashed on the ground that the order passed by the learned trial Magistrate is illegal.
2. Section 42(b), Electricity Act, 9 of 1910 provides.
'Whoever, being a licensee, in contravention of the provisions of the Act, or of the rule thereunder or in breach of the conditions of his license and without reasonable excuse, the burden of proving which shall lie on him, discontinues the supply of energy, or fails to supply energy shall be punishable'.
Evidently the person who is liable to be punished is the licensee. It is not the case of the complainant that the Directors of the licensee company can be called 'licensee' within the meaning of Section 42(b), Electricity Act, 1910. On the complaint filed by the complainant the two accused could not, therefore, be convicted of an offence (sic) Section 42(b) of the Act. It is unnecessary, therefore to consider the other points on which also the learned Sessions Judge has made a reference to this Court. I agree with the view of the learned Sessions Judge that the conviction of the two accused under Section 42(b) was illegal.
3. The order of conviction passed upon theaccused is, therefore, set aside. Fine, if paid, isordered to be refunded.
4. Reference accepted.