1. Cri. M. P. No. 836 of 1970 is filed under Section 561A of the Code of Criminal Procedure seeking the quashing of the proceedings in C.C. No. 7 of 1970 Crime No. 226 of 1969 on the file of the Judicial First Class Magistrate. Gooty and Crl. M.P. No. 840 of 1970 is filed under the same provision of law requesting this court to quash the proceedings in C.C. No. 8 of 1970 Crime No. 227 of 1969 on the file of the said Judicial First Class Magistrate Gooty.
2. The point involved in both the cases being the same these two criminal proceedings can be disposed of by a common judgment.
3. C.C. No. 7 of 1970 proceeds on the footing that Section 4 of the Andhra Pradesh Gift Goods (Prevention of Unlawful Possession) Act. 1965 was violated and the material portion of the charge sheet reads as follows:
The accused noted in the margin are residents of Guntakal. The House bearing Door No. 18/824 in Guntakal I town Police Station limits is in possession and enjoyment of the accused 1 and 2 and they are in over-all control of that house.
On 16-12-1969 at about 1 P.M. P. W. 9 searched a portion of the house 18/824 in the possession and control of the accused. In the locked portion were found 15 full original seals and packings of the manufacturer. Each carton contained about 23 litres of oil along with other articles. The Soya Bean Oil is a sift goods not available for sale in the market. The said oil along with other articles which were found in the room in the possession and control of the accused were seized by P. W. 9 in the presence of P. Ws. 6 to 8 and others. Accused No. 2 who was present at the time of search could not give any valid explanation for the gift goods in the house.
The accused have thus been in possession of gift goods i.e. 15 full cartons and 4 tins of Soya Bean Oil in contravention of Section 4 of the Andhra Pradesh Gift Goods (Prevention of Unlawful Possession Act. 1965 and is hence liable for punishment under the Section 4 of that Act.
Charge sheet in C.C. No. 8 of 1970 also runs practically on the same lines. The ultimate paragraph in that charge sheet reads as follows:
The accused have thus been in possession of the cartons of Soya Bean Oil Gift Goods in contravention of Section 4 of the A.P. Gift Goods Prevention of Unlawful Possession Act. 1965.
4. As is seen from the above it is the contravention of Section 4 of the Act that is now sought to be made out in the chargesheets. It may be noticed that the Act itself was enacted with a view to Preventing the unlawful possession of certain goods gifted by some relief organisations and the matters connected therewith as the preamble to it discloses. As the contravention of Section 4 of the Act is involved in this matter we shall read Section 4 of the Act which runs thus:
4. Unlawful possession of Gift Goods If any person is found or is proved to have been in possession of any gift goods shall unless he proves that the gift goods came into his possession lawfully on conviction be punishable with imprisonment for a term which may extend Jo two years or with fine which may extend to one thousand rupees, or with both.
Section 2 deals with the definitions the material portion of which reads as follows:
2. In this Act unless the context otherwise requires:
(a) 'Gift Goods' means any of the following goods namely:
XX XX XX(iv) vegetable oil soya bean or sunflower seed oil.
XX XX X XX(viii) buleur wheat:
XX XX X XXsupplied by way of sift by any relief organisation to any State Government or to the Central Government or to any other person on behalf of such Government.
Clause (b) of the said section defines 'Relief Organisation' as one meaning any organisation specified in the schedule and the schedule gives under entry No. 6 'Catholic Relief Service' as one of the relief organisations.
5. Sri Venkataramayya. the learned Counsel appearing for the petitioner in both these petitions drawing my attention to what is contained in the charge sheets and the provisions contained in the Act referred to above submits that the offence under Section 4 on a reading of the charge sheet cannot be said to have been made out at all and as such he is entitled to have the proceedings initiated against the petitioner quashed.
6. The learned Public Prosecutor on the other hand contends that the matters that are urged before this Court will have to be urged before the trial Court and if they can satisfy the Court below, the petitioner can get a discharge under Section 251-A (2) of the Criminal Procedure Code. According to the learned Counsel for the petitioner unless the ingredients of the offence as contemplated under Section 4 are found mentioned in the charge sheet the charge itself cannot be said to be valid in law and as such he need not be put to harassment of going through the enquiry and trial and as such he is entitled, with a view to avoiding harassment which is otherwise avoidable. to have these proceedings quashed.
7. Under Section 4 of the Act. if any person is found or is proved to have been in possession of any sift goods he is liable to be punished on being convicted with imprisonment for a term which may extend to two years or with fine which may extend to one thousand rupees or with both. 'Gift goods' as defined under Section 2 take within its ambit under items (iv) and (viii) vegetable oil and bulgur wheat provided they are shown to have been supplied by wav of gift by any relief organisation to any State Government or to the Central Government or to any other person on behalf of such Government.
8. According to the learned Counsel for the petitioner the charge sheets proceed on the footing that the accused are in possession of the gift goods but there is absolutely nothing to show that those gift goods are contemplated under Section 2 were supplied either to the State Government or to the Central Government or to any other person on behalf of such Government and according to him the petitioner in this case does not answer the description of any one of those two entities viz.. the State Government or the Central Government or any other person on behalf of such Government and there is nothing in the charge sheets which discloses that the goods that the accused are found in possession are goods supplied either to the State Govt. or to the Central Government or to any other person on behalf of such Government, and as one of the important ingredients constituting the offence under Section 4 is found lacking in the charge sheets the charge itself may not be considered to be valid in law and on that basis the accused cannot be charge-sheeted.
9. The learned Public Prosecutor contends that whether or not the goods are supplied to the State Government or to the Central Government or to any other person on behalf of such Government. are all matters that can be gone into by the Court below and this Court cannot be converted into a Court of enquiry or trial and as such the inherent powers under Section 561-A of the Code cannot be exercised in favour of the petitioner. He placed reliance upon R. P Kapoor v. State of Punjab AIR 3960 Supreme Court 866 The headnote pithily brings about the point wherein it is stated that some of the categories of cases where the inherent jurisdiction under Section 561-A of the Code to quash the proceedings can and should be exercised are where the allegations in the First Information Report or the complaint even if they are taken at the face value and accepted in their entirety do not constitute the offence alleged: in such cases no question of appreciating evidence arises; it is a matter merely of looking at the complaint or the first information report to decide whether the offence alleged is disclosed or not.
10. Sri Venkatramayya submits that on a reading of the charge sheet it is clear that even taking the allegations contained therein at their face value and accepted in their entirety still they do not constitute the offence alleged under Section 4 in the sense that one of the important ingredients in the concept of the definition of 'gift goods' is found lacking and as such the proceedings shall have to be Quashed.
11. I have gone through the charge sheets filed in the cases and other relevant matters to which my attention has been drawn by the learned Counsel appearing for the petitioner in both the petitions and I am of the opinion that there is nothing in the charge sheets to disclose that the goods that the accused are in possession, are goods supplied either to the State Government or to the Central Government or to any other person on behalf of such Government Under those circumstances. I am of the view that there is no prima facie case made out of violation of Section 4 of the Act and as such these proceedings are liable to be quashed and are hereby directed to be quashed. This does not prevent the State Government from proceeding against them after framing proper charges if they are so advised and if the circumstances permit. The petitions are accordingly ordered.