S.S. Sidhu, J.
1. Bagh Singh was convicted under Section 354, I.P.C. on 29th April, 1974, and was sentenced to undergo six months rigorous imprisonment on 28th May. 1974 by the Judicial Magistrate 1st Class, Muktsar (Shri Manmohan Singh Ahluwalia). He preferred an appeal against the said conviction and sentence, but the same was dismissed by the learned Sessions Judge, Faridkot vide his judgment dated 5th March, 1975, by holding that the convict, as found by the trial Court, did not deserve to be dealt with under Section 4 read with Section 6 of the Probation of Offenders Act, 1958 (hereinafter referred to as the Act). Bagh Singh has now come up to this Court in revision against his conviction and sentence.
2. Briefly, the facts of the case are that on 8th November, 1973 at about sunset, Mst. Marro (P, W. 1), a Harijan lady, aged about 40 years, was returning from the fields with a bundle of green fodder on her head. When she came near an uninhabited room of Dharam Singh, Bagh Singh petitioner, who was drunk and was standing in the pathway, started speaking untoward language in an incoherent manner. Mst. Marro requested him to leave the passage for her, but he paid little heed and instead started grappling with her. He tore off the clothes of Mst. Marro and made an attempt to molest her. She raised an alarm. Inder Singh and Gurdev Singh came from the neighbouring fields and they rescued her from the clutches of the accused petitioner.
3. On the complaint (Exhibit P-A) made by Mst. Marro, the case was registered against the accused petitioner. After the completion of investigation, he was challaned and was convicted and sentenced as mentioned above by the Judicial Magistrate. An appeal filed against his conviction and sentence was dismissed by the learned Sessions Judge Thereafter he filed this revision petition which was admitted vide order dated 17th March, 1975 as regards sentence only.
4. The petitioner is a young managed about 19 years. He was aged only 17 years at the time of commission of the offence. He is an illiterate person and is a rustic villager. He is a first 'offender. The counsel for the petitioner has submitted that taking all these facts into consideration, the petitioner may be released on probation under Section 4(1) read with Section 6(1) of the Act. The learned Counsel for the respondent, on the other hand, contends that in this case the trial Court called for the report from the Probation Officer with regard to the character, physical and mental condition of the offender and thereafter that Court came to a finding that it was not desirable to deal with Bagh Singh under Section 6 of the Act. He has further submitted that the aforesaid finding was endorsed -even by the learned Appellate Court, viz., the Sessions Judge, Faridkot and, there-lore, there appears to be no justification for giving benefit of the provisions of the Act. I have fully appreciated the above arguments advanced before me by the counsel for either party and am of 'the opinion that the contention of the counsel for the petitioner must prevail against that of the counsel for the respondent. Section 6 of the Act lays down:
6. Restrictions on imprisonment of offenders under twenty-one years of age.-
(1) When any person under twenty -one years of age is found guilty of having committed an offence punishable with imprisonment (but not with imprisonment for life), the Court by which the person is found guilty shall not sentence him to imprisonment unless it is satisfied that, having regard to the circumstances of the case including the nature of the offence and the character of the offender, it should not be desirable to deal with him under Section 3 or Section 4, and if the Court passes any sentence of imprisonment on the offender, it shall record its reasons for doing so.
(2) For the purpose of satisfying it' self whether it would not be desirable to deal under Section 3 or Section 4 with an offender referred to in Sub-section (1), the Court shall call for a report from the probation officer and consider the report, if any, and any other information available to it relating to the character and physical and mental condition of the offender.
In Daulat Ram v. The State of Haryana AIR 1972 SC 2434 : 1972 Cri LJ 1517 it has been held as under :
Now the object of Section 6 of the Act, broadly speaking, is to see that young offenders are not sent to jail for the commission of less serious offences mentioned therein because of grave risk to their attitude to life to which they are likely to be exposed as a result of their close association with the hardened and habitual criminals who may happen to be the inmates of the jail. Their stay in jail in such circumstances might well attract them towards a life of crime instead of reforming them. This would clearly do them more harm than good, and for that reason it would perhaps also be to an extent prejudicial to the larger interests of the society as a whole. It is for this reason that the mandatory injunction against imposition of sentence of imprisonment has been embodied in Section 6. This mandate is inspired by the desire to keep the young delinquent away from the possibility of association or close contact with hardened criminals and their evil influence. This section, therefore, deserves to be liberally construed so that its operation may be effective and beneficial to the young offenders who are prone more easily to be led astray by the influence of bad company.
The object of the Act is to prevent the turning of youthful offenders into criminals by their association with hardened criminals of mature age witihin the cells of a prison. The method adopted is to attempt their possible reformation instead of inflicting on them the normal punishment for their crime. According to Section 11(1) of that Act, the Court exercising appellate or revisional jurisdiction can exercise jurisdiction under that Act. The revisional Courts are not only empowered to exercise jurisdiction under Sections 3 and 4 but also under Section 6 of that Act. (Vide Ramji Missar v. State of Bihar : AIR1963SC1088 ).
5. In view of the above quoted authorities this Court must give benefit of the provisions of the Act to the accused petitioner if after appreciating the report of the Probation Officer it thinks that it will be desirable to deal with the offender under Section 4 of the Act. The report of the Probation Officer, which weighed with the trial Court and the Appellate Court in coming to the conclusion that benefit of the provisions of the Act should not be given to the petitioner, is to the effect that the accused (Bagh Singh) is non-co-operating, emotionally untrained, of indisciplined behaviour and habits, rude in behaviour with his neighbours, has under-developed super ego, is immature and has no respect of law; though the family owns sufficient land yet the accused, his father and elder brother are notorious in the village for their rude and abnormal behaviour and are abusive and indecent; the indisciplined behaviour of the accused is due to bad 'heredity and bad environment and he is developing the criminal potentiality. But Jin that report it is nowhere mentioned that Bagh Singh accused had committed any crime previously. The only vital thing alleged against him is that he is rude in his behaviour and is non-co-operative. Simply because the petitioner has a rude behaviour towards others, which most probably is due to the fact that he is a rustic villager, in my opinion, should be no ground for imposing sentence of imprisonment on him and then make him to undergo imprisonment amongst the hardened criminals. It is a case of an offender having unimpeached antecedents because he (the petitioner) is not a 'previous convict at all. In the absence of any previous conviction it will not be proper to say simply on account of the rude and indisciplined behaviour of the petitioner that he is developing criminal tendencies. Under these circumstances, will the Court still consider that the petitioner should be sent to jail and serve his sentence by living amongst the hardened criminals there The rude behaviour of the convict petitioner or of his parents and brother is no ground to deprive him of the beneficial provision of Section 6 of the Act. As already observed, the Supreme Court says in the case of Daulat Ram (supra) that Section 6 deserves to . be liberally construed so that its operation may be effective and beneficial to the young offenders who are prone more easily to be led astray by the influence of bad company. Section 6 of the Act [thus emphasises the importance of reclaiming a juvenile offender so as to make him a useful member of the society. 'Therefore, I am of the considered opinion that having regard to the circumstances of the case including the nature of the offence and the character of the offender, it is expedient to release him on probation of good conduct under Section 4(1) read with Section 6 of the Act.
6. In the result, the petition is partly accepted and the petitioner's sentence of imprisonment is set aside and it is ordered that he should be released from jail forthwith, unless required for any other offence, on his executing a bond in the sum of Rs. 2,000/- with one surety in the like amount to keep peace and be of good behaviour for a period of one year and to appear in Court and receive sentence when called upon during that period. It is further directed that he should be produced in the Court of the Chief Judicial Magistrate, Faridkot for execution of personal and surety bonds.