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Tulja Ram Vs. Delhi Administration and ors. - Court Judgment

LegalCrystal Citation
SubjectCriminal
CourtDelhi High Court
Decided On
Case NumberCr. Writ No. 10 of 1968
Judge
Reported in4(1968)DLT509; ILR1968Delhi438
ActsConstitution of India - Article 226
AppellantTulja Ram
RespondentDelhi Administration and ors.
Advocates: D.S. Golani,; R.K. Verma and; A.D. Sapra, Advs
Excerpt:
.....paid--detention in lieu of payment of fine--whether violates fight of personal liberty.; where the jail authorities detained the petitioner under a valid warrant of commitment based on an order of conviction by a competent court and it was contended on behalf of the petitioner that the fine, in lieu whereof he had been detained, had been recovered from him, and that accordingly his detention was illegal:;that unless information is conveyed to the jail authorities about the payment or realisation of the fine in accordance with law, the petitioner's detention cannto be said to be illegal. the petitioner should, under the circumstances, take appropriate steps to establish payment of fine to the satisfaction either of the court which sentenced him or to the satisfaction of the jail..........this matter is, however, beyond the scope of our enquiry in the present proceedings. the jail authorities are detaining the petitioner under a valid warrant of commitment based on an order of conviction by a competent court and unless information is conveyed to the jail authorities about the payment or realisation of the fine in accordance with law, the petitioner's detention cannto be held to be illegal. the petitioner, in our opinion, should take appropriate steps to establish payment of unc io the satisfaction either of the court which sentenced him or to the satisfaction of the jail authorities and in these proceedings, we cannto hold an enquiry into this allegation pursuant to a mere statement from the bar.(4) before concluding, we cannto help observing that in this case......
Judgment:

D. Dua, C.J.

(1) Tulja Ram petitioner has approached this Court with a prayer for a writ of habeas corpus on the ground that the sentences imposed on him by the Special Judge, Delhi, which have since been affirmed by this Court and by the Supreme Court, have been served out by the petitioner and, thereforee, he is at the present moment illegally detained in the Central Prison, Tehar, New Delhi.

(2) From the return filed by the Superintendent, Central Prison. Tehar, it is obvious that the petitioner was convicted in three cases of corruption viz., cases Nos. 25, 26 and 27 of 1961. In case Mo. 25 of 1961, the petitioner was convicted and sentenced under section 5/5 of the Prevention of Corruption Act to rigorous imprisonment for one year and to a fine of Rs. 200, or in default to further rigorous imprisonment for two months: under section 5/5 of the Prevention of Corruption Act, to rigorous imprisonment for one year and a fine of Rs. 200, in default to undergo rigorous imprisonment for two months: and under section 477A Indian Penal Code ., to rigorous imprisonment for one ye..', r. All these three sentences were to run concurrently. In ca^e- No. 26 of 1961 also the petitioner was sentenced under section 5/5 of the Prevention of Corruption Act to rigorous imprisonment for one year and a fine of Rs. 200.00, or in default, to further rigorous imprisonment for two months: under section 5/5 of the Prevention of Corruption Act, to rigorous imprisonment for one year and a fine of Rs. 200.00 or in default, to rigorous imprisonment for two months: and under section 477A I.P.C. to rigorous imprisonment for one year. These three sentences were also to run concurrently. In case No. 27 of 1961, he was similarly sentenced to rigorous imprisonment for one year under section 5/5 of the Prevention of Corruption Act and to a fine of Rs. 200.00, in default to further rigorous imprisonment for two months: under section 5/5 of the Prevention of Corruption Act, to rigorous imprisonment for one year and to a fine of Rs. 200.00, or in default, to undergo rigourous imprisonment for one year and to a fine of Rs. 200.00, or in default, to undergo rigorous imprisonment for two months: and under section 477A Indian Penal Code ., to rigorous imprisonment for one year. These three sentences were also to run concurrently. The sentences in all the three cases were also to run concurrently. According to these sentences, it is conceded on behalf of the respondents that excluding the sentences of imprisonment to be undergone in default of payment of fine, the petitioner would have served out the entire sentences on 24/1/1968. Thereafter, he is now serving out the sentences imposed upon him in default of payment of fine.

(3) In regard to the payment of fine, the learned counsel for the petitioner has tried to urge that fine has actually been realised from the petitioner by taking some money belonging to him from the post office and that in spite of repeated request by the petitioner, he is nto being supplied with full particulars of such realisation. This matter is, however, beyond the scope of our enquiry in the present proceedings. The Jail Authorities are detaining the petitioner under a valid warrant of commitment based on an order of conviction by a competent Court and unless information is conveyed to the Jail Authorities about the payment or realisation of the fine in accordance with law, the petitioner's detention cannto be held to be illegal. The petitioner, in our opinion, should take appropriate steps to establish payment of unc io the satisfaction either of the Court which sentenced him or to the satisfaction of the Jail Authorities and in these proceedings, we cannto hold an enquiry into this allegation pursuant to a mere statement from the bar.

(4) Before concluding, we cannto help observing that in this case. the original return filed on behalf of the Jail Authorities created a somewhat unhappy impression on this Court because, according to that return, the present petitioner was slated to be liable to be kept in custody up to 31/3/1970. This return was tiled on the assumption that the sentences imposed on the petitioner were nto to run concurrently but consecutively. It was represented to this Court that the warrant of commitment did nto show that the sentences were to run concurrently and copies of the judgment were nto made available to the Superintendent of the Jail. We are informed that in spite of efforts having been made by the Superintendent of the Jail to have the matter clarified, neither the trial Court nor the Appellate Courts were helpful to him in this respect. In this connection, we do feel that the warrants of commitment were nto as clear as they should have been, but the Jail Authorities also did nto act with the promptitude expected of them and they took a long time to move in the matter. The Presiding Officer of the Court of the Special Judge also, in our opinion, did nto pay to this matter the attention it deserved. It has been stated at the bar by the petitioner's learned counsel that he had actually forwarded copies of the judgment to the Superintendent of Jail, though this is nto admitted by the counsel for the respondents. Without pursuing this matter further, we deem it our duty to impress upon all the authorities concerned that in matters like the present, the warrants of commitment must be prepared with care and attention and they must succinctly and unambiguously show to the Jail Authorities the precise scope and extent of the sentence imposed so that the convict is nto detained for a day longer than the order of conviction directs. The Superintendent of Jail must also take immediate steps to have ambiguities, if any, clarified and nto make wrong entries in the register in a casual and irresponsible manner. This reflects a serious lapse on his part. Liberty of the subject has to be jealously guarded in this Republic and merely because a man is convicted of an offence, does nto mean that the constitutional guarantee of personal liberty is inapplicable to his case. It is nto only citizens of this Republic, but all persons on its soil who are guaranteed prtoection of life and personal liberty, of which they cannto be deprived except according to procedure established by law.

FORthe foregoing reasons, we hold that the petitioner has nto been shown to be illegally detained at the present moment and we dismiss this petition, leaving it open to him to secure his prelease either by paying fine or by establishing with the authorities concerned that the fine has been paid or realised.


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