S.S. Dewan, J.
1. Ajit Singh petitioner was found distilling illicit liquor by working a still. He was held guilty Under Section 61 (1) (c) of the Punjab Excise Act and convicted accordingly by the Chief Judicial Magistrate, Gurdaspur on November 24, 1978. He was sentenced to one year's rigorous imprisonment and a fine Sessions Judge, Gurdaspur, not only upheld his conviction but also confirmed the sentence. Feeling aggrieved, he has now come up by way of revision.
2. In short, the prosecution case is that on April 9, 1977 Jagir Singh, Assistant Sub-Inspector of Police Station Kalanaur along with Ram Singh Constable and others went to village Khushipur where Mohinder Singh Sarpanch was joined in the raiding party and raided the house of the petitioner who was then feeding fire in the hearth underneath the working still. He was arrested and thereafter the component parts of the still including the receiver hottle containing 570 M/s. of liquor, were taken into possession. A sample was taken out of the liquor and sent to the Chemical Examiner, who tested the same and found its contents to be of illicit liquor. After necessary investigation, the petitioner was challaned and sent up for trial. He was convicted and sentenced as indicated above.
3. The prosecution evidence which has been unreservedly accepted by both the Courts below primarily consists of the testimony of Kuldip Singh, Excise-Inspector P.W. 2, Ram Singh Constable, P.W. 3 and Jagir Singh, Assistant Sub-Inspector, P.W. 4, Mohinder Singh Sarpanch, P.W., having gone hostile refused to support the prosecution case. The trial Court unhesitatingly confirmed that the plea taken up by the petitioner was merely a cock and bull story and rejected it out of hand. The appellate Court affirmed the said finding.
4. Mr. Mann, learned Counsel for the petitioner has urged the the testimony of the aforesaid three official witnesses alone should not be relied upon to sustain the conviction. I am unable to agree. By now their Lordships of the Supreme Court have repeatedly affirmed that the evidence of the official witness has to be weighed in the same scale as any other testimony. The significant thing herein is that these official witnesses are not held to have any animus or hostility against the petitioner. The cross-examination directed against them has not elicited anything worth the name which can possibly make a dent in the prosecution case and I would, therefore, affirm the findings of the Courts below and accept the testimony of these witnesses.
5. It was then casually contended on behalf of the petitioner that the case property had not been produced and, therefore, the prosecution case was clouded with doubt. This contention seems to be wholly unfounded. All the component parts were duly produced and exhibited. The prosecution witnesses firmly identified the various component parts and there appears to be no infirmity about the identification of the case property here.
6. Finally Mr. Mann pressed for release of the petitioner in terms of Section 360, Criminal Procedure Code. I am of the opinion that the beneficial provisions of Section 360, Criminal Procedure Code, cannot be extended to cases of this kind. The petitioner was found working the still for commercial purposes. This offence has assumed a menacing proportion and requires curbing with heavy hands. To release such offenders on their execution of bonds is to dilute the deterrent effect of the sentence provided in the Act.
7. In the result I find no merit in the revision petition and dismiss the same.