Ajit Singh Bains, J.
1. This petition is directed against the order dated January 17, 1974 of the learned Additional Sessions Judge. Amritsar vide which the conviction and sentence of the petitioners awarded by the Judicial Magistrate First Class, Amritsar on September 15, 1973 under Section 61(1)(a) of the Punjab Excise Act has been affirmed.
2. The prosecution story as unfolded by Harbhajan Singh, Sub Inspector, P. W. 3 is as under:
On the night intervening 28th and 29th of October, 1971, Harbhajan Singh, Sub-Inspector was on patrol duty when he received the information against the petitioners. He joined some other police officials and picketed on the road leading from Rayya to Wadala on the bridge of the drain at about 2.00 A. M. During the night car No. DLK 4506 came from the side of Wadala. Petitioner Avtar Singh was driving the car and Inderjit petitioner was sitting on the back seat. The car was stopped and searched. From the front seat two bags containing 24 bottles each of liquor were recovered and from the back seat four bags each containing 24 bottles of liquor were recovered. These bottles were marked Exs. p. 1 to p. 144. Samples were taken and the recovery memo Exs. PA was prepared and ruqa Ex. PB was sent to the Police Station on the basis of which formal first information report Ex. PB/1 was recorded by Moharir Head Constable Ajmer Singh, P. W. 2. According to the report of the Chemical Examiner, Ex. PD, the contents were found to be denatured spirit. The prosecution produced Excise Inspector Jaswant Singh, P. W. 1, Ajmer Singh, P. W. 2 and Harbhajan Singh, Sub-Inspector, P. W. 3.
3. When examined under Section 342 of the Code of Criminal Procedure, the petitioners denied their complicity in the crime and pleaded false implication and examined Gopal Dass, DW. 1 in their defence. The learned trial Court convicted the petitioners as aforesaid and they unsuccessfully appealed to the learned Additional Sessions Judge. Hence this petition.
4. Mr. Pipat, learned Counsel for the petitioners has contended that no independent witness is produced hence the conviction on the testimony of the official witnesses is bad. I do not find any merit in this contention. There is nothing against the official witnesses and a huge quantity of 144 bottles of liquor was recovered and it is not possible to plant such a huge quantity falsely. It is settled law that in such a case the testimony of the official witnesses is relied upon especially when there is no earlier enmity between the accused persons and the official witnesses. The second contention is that according to the Chemical Examiner the contents of the bottles were denatured spirit and that the offence falls under Section 63 of the Punjab Excise Act and not under Section 61 (1) (a) of the Act and that for the offence under Section 63 of the said Act, the procedure as laid down in Section 75 (1) (b) of the Act has not been followed. This contention also is to be repelled. The possession of the denatured spirit falls under Section 61 (1) (a) of the Act and this fact has not been denied by the learned Counsel for the petitioners. His only contention is that a special procedure is given in Section 75 (a) (b) of the Act and that procedure should have been followed. Section 63 of the Punjab Excise Act is in the following terms:
63. Whoever renders or attempts to render fit for human consumption any spirit, whether manufactured in India or not, which has been denatured, or has in his possession any spirit rendered fit for human consumption in respect of which he knows or has reason to believe that any such attempt has been made, shall be punishable with imprisonment for a term which may extend to one year and with fine which may extend to one thousand rupees.
5. The reading of this section clearly shows that whoever renders or attempts to render fit for human consumption any spirit whether manufactured in India or not and which has been denatured or has in his possession any spirit rendered fit for human consumption, is liable under this section. But in the present case, the denatured spirit was found in the possession of the petitioners which clearly falls under Section 61 (1) (a) and mot under Section 63. In a similar case Maghar Singh v. State of Punjab (1972) 74 Pun LR 947 where 8 drums full of denatured spirit were found in the possession of the accused, he was convicted by the Magistrate under Section 61 (1) (a) of the Punjab Excise Act. He challenged his conviction and in that context, it was observed that denatured spirit being admittedly a liquid containing alcohol, is a liquor and, therefore, an intoxicant, the possession of which is an offence punishable under Clause (a) of Sub-section (1) of Section 61 of the Punjab Excise Act. Although in this authority the question of applicability of Section 63 was not raised, but the principle laid therein helps the prosecution to the extent that the offence is punishable under Section 61 (1) (a) of the Act. Since I have held that the offence falls under Section 61 (1) (a) and not Section 63, the question of following the procedure as laid down under Section 75 (1) (b) does not arise.
6. Lastly, Mr. Pipat argued that the petitioner should be given benefit of the Probation of Offenders Act. Here also I do not find any merit because a huge quantity of 144 bottles was recovered. Probation of Offenders Act is meant for the offenders in whose case, there likelihood of some reformation, but these petitioners seemed to be dealing on a large scale in this anti-revenue and illegal activity, hence I do not find that it is a fit case to release the petitioners under the provisions of the Probation of Offenders Act. No other point is urged. Hence this petition fails and is dismissed.