1. This petition is against the conviction of the petitioner under Section 7 of the Essential Supplies (Temporary Powers) Act, 1946 (Act. XXIV (24) of 1946) for contravention of Clause VII (i) of the Orissa Food-grains Control Order, 1947 and the sentence of fine of Rs. 250/-passed by the Additional Sessions Judge of Koraput on appeal from the judgment of the S. D. M., Koraput.
2. The facts as found by both the Courts are these : The petitioner is a merchant of Salur in Madras Presidency. He loaded 39 bags of rice in a lorry (M. D. B. 1024) in the night of 7-7-48 at village Dumuriput. He himself sat in the lorry and it was driven by P. W. 7. While it was proceeding towards Salur along the Koraput Salur road it was stopped at village Sembliguda about 28 miles from Madras border by the Sub-Inspector of Police (P. W. 1) and searched. The 39 bags of rice were seized by the S. I. and the petitioner did not show any permit authorising him to transport rice outside the Province of Orissa. The driver of the lorry (P. W. 7) has figured as a prosecution witness and stated that under instructions from the petitioner he was driving the lorry from Dumuriput to Salur when on the way it was stopped by the S. I. at Sembblguda and the rice was seized.
3. Mr. Rao contended that the evidence of P. W. 7 should not be accepted without adequate corroboration inasmuch as he was an accomplice in the commission of the crime. I have no doubt that this contention is correct because the transport of rice from any place in the Province of Orissa to any place outside the Province having been prohibited, if the driver of the lorry intentionally transported rice from Dumuriput to Salur under instructions from the petitioner, he is also equally guilty of the offence. In fact it appears that he has already been convicted for the offence in a separate trial. In the lower Court much stress was laid on the fact that he was not a competent witness to depose in this case because of his conviction for that offence in a separate trial. This argument is clearly wrong. All that can be said is that he is an accomplice and that his evidence must be adequately corroborated. But the competence of an accomplice to depose as a witness is beyond question and the mere fact that he was convicted for that offence does not in any way detract from his competence.
4. The sole point for consideration is whether there is adequate corroboration of the evidence of the driver (P. W. 7). In my opinion the facts and circumstances established by the prosecution afford sufficient corroboration of the evidence of the accomplice regarding the transport of the seized rice from Dumuriput to Salur. (After discussing the evidence, the judgment proceeded.) I would therefore hold that on the proved facts there is a clear case of attempt to transport the rice in question without a proper permit from the authorities.
5. Mr. Rao further contended that the facts of the case do not constitute an attempt inasmuch as the seizure of the rice took place at a place about 28 miles from Madras border and the petitioner could easily have prevented the commission of the offence by changing his intention and leaving the rice at some other village within the district of Koraput such as Poitangi. The question whether on facts similar to those proved in this case an attempt to transport goods has been completed or not has been fully discussed in a Special Bench decision of this High Court reported in 'STATE v. HARICHARAN RAKSHIT', ILR (1949) 1 Cut 787, and it is unnecessary to consider it once again. So far as the petitioner was concerned he had done all that was necessary for the purpose of transporting the rice and the completion of the offence was prevented by its stoppage by the S. I. and not by any action on the Part of the petitioner. The mere possibility that before the lorry crossed Orissa border the petitioner might have changed his mind and thrown away the rice somewhere in Orissa will not I think suffice to indicate that the act complained of was still in a preparatory stage and had not ripened to an attempt. I am, therefore, satisfied that the petitioner was rightly convicted and the sentence wag not excessive.
6. The revision petition is dismissed.