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The State Vs. Ramakrishnan Nair - Court Judgment

LegalCrystal Citation
SubjectMotor Vehicles;Criminal
CourtKerala High Court
Decided On
Case NumberCriminal R.C. No. 17 of 1981
Judge
Reported inAIR1983Ker151
ActsCode of Criminal Procedure (CrPC) , 1974 - Sections 360; Moto Vehicles Act, 1939 - Sections 17, 17(1), 17(4), 89 and 112
AppellantThe State
RespondentRamakrishnan Nair
Appellant AdvocatePublic Prosecutor
Respondent Advocate R. Krishnan Nair, Adv.
Cases ReferredIn Mohammed Sabir v. State of Maharashtra.
Excerpt:
.....17 applicable - separate order under section 17 (1) and 17 (4) of disqualifying offender for holding driving licence need not be passed. - - 1000/- with two sureties for like amounts to appear and receive sentence when called upon during a period of one year from the date of the judgment, and in the meanwhile to be of good behaviour. a person not being under twentyone years of age, if convicted of an offence punishable with fine only, or with imprisonment for a term of seven years or less and no previous conviction is proved against him can be released on probation of good conduct, regard being had to the age, character or antecedents of the offender. act is applicable and he is released on probation of good conduct, on executing a bond under section 360 of the cri p...........punishment authorised by law. therefore, the statute presupposes the imposition of a principal penalty or punishment in addition to which the disqualification is to be ordered. in other words, ordering of disqualification is not the main punishment or penalty for contravention of section 89. this leads to the question whether there is any other punishment or penalty for contravention of section 89. this takes us to section 112 of the act section 112 of the act states that persons contravening the provisions of the act or any rules made thereunder shall if no other penalty is provided for the offence, be punishable with fine which may extend to one hundred rupees. subsequent contraventions would beliable with fine which may extend to three hundred rupees. it follows that contravention.....
Judgment:
ORDER

P. Janaki Amma, J.

1. The respondent in this case was convicted by the Judicial Magistrate, First Class, pathanamthitta, for offences punishable under Sections 279 and 304(A) of the Penal Code and also under Section 89(a) and (b) of the Motor Vehicles Act. The Court instead of sentencing him released him under Section 360 of the Criminal P. C. on his entering a bond for Rs. 1000/- with two sureties for like amounts to appear and receive sentence when called upon during a period of one year from the date of the judgment, and in the meanwhile to be of good behaviour. Under Section 17(5) of the M. V. Act where a person is convicted of an offence under that Act, or of an offence in the commission of which a motor vehicle was used, the Court may in addition to imposing any other punishment authorised by law, declare the person so convicted to be disqualified, for such period as the Court may specify, for holding any driving licence or for holding a driving licence to drive a particular class or description of the vehicle. Section 17(4) of the same Act directs that Court should order the disqualification of an offender convicted of an offence against the provisions of Clause (c) of Sub-section (1) of Section 87 or Section 89 and that such disqualification should be for a period of notless than one month. The question involved in this revision case is whether the Court having convicted the accused for offences under Section 89(a) and (b) of the M.V. Act should have disqualified him for holding driving licence as directed in Section 17(4) of that Act, in spite of the fact that he has been released on probation under Section 360 of the Crl. p. C. I must state at the outset that no decision directly on the point has been placed before me.

2. Under Section 360 of the Cri. P. C. a person not being under twentyone years of age, if convicted of an offence punishable with fine only, or with imprisonment for a term of seven years or less and no previous conviction is proved against him can be released on probation of good conduct, regard being had to the age, character or antecedents of the offender.

3. The first question that arises for consideration is whether contravention of Section 89 would amount to an offence. An offence under Section 3(38) of the General Clauses Act means any act or omission made punishable by any law for the time being in force. Section 89 imposes a duty on the driver of the vehicle or other person in charge of the vehicle involved in an accident to secure medical attention to the injured if any and to report the occurrence to the nearest police station. The section does not impose any punishment or penalty for contravention of the duty. No doubt Section 17(4) makes disqualification for holding licence for a minimum period compulsory for contravention of Section 89. But the language of Section 17(1) makes it clear that ordering such disqualification is in addition to imposing other punishment authorised by law. Therefore, the statute presupposes the imposition of a principal penalty or punishment in addition to which the disqualification is to be ordered. In other words, ordering of disqualification is not the main punishment or penalty for contravention of Section 89. This leads to the question whether there is any other punishment or penalty for contravention of Section 89. This takes us to Section 112 of the Act Section 112 of the Act states that persons contravening the provisions of the Act or any rules made thereunder shall if no other penalty is provided for the offence, be punishable with fine which may extend to one hundred rupees. Subsequent contraventions would beliable with fine which may extend to three hundred rupees. It follows that contravention of Section 89 is punishable with fine which may extend to one hundred rupees. (See Sabir Ahmed Lal Mohamed v. State of Maharashtra, AIR 1972 Bom 2961. If that be so. contravention of Section 89 is an offence which comes under the purview of Section 360 of the Cr. P. C.

4. The further question is whether in a case where an accused is convicted and sentenced under Section 89 of the M.V. Act and a disqualification is ordered under Section 17(1) read with Section 17(4), such disqualification would form part of the punishment or sentence. Going by the language of Section 17(1) with particular reference to the words 'any other punishment authorised by law' it would appear that the statute intends that the order of disqualification should be a punishment. Since the punishment has not been defined it must be held that the word is used in the ordinary dictionary meaning. The meaning given for the word in the Concise Oxford Dictionary is 'inflict penalty on (offender): inflict penalty for (offence)'. The word, according to New Webster's Dictionary (College Edition), means 'the act of punishing, pain or penalty inflicted on a person for a crime or offence: a penalty imposed in the enforcement of law: general ill-treatment.' While conviction of an offender is a public condemnation of his conduct, punishment is the consequence of such condemnation. It follows, disqualification for holding a driving licence is a punishment for an offence under Section 89 of the M. V. Act.

5. The next aspect to be considered is whether an order of disqualification under Section 17(1) read with S 17(4) would form part of the sentencing process for the purpose of Section 360 of the Cri. P. C. 'Sentence' in the legal sense is the judicial pronouncement, following the conviction for an offence designating the punishment thereof: it also stands for the punishment so imposed. There is no doubt that the disqualification mentioned in Section 17 of the M. V. Act is a judicial pronouncement following the conviction for an offence. The Court is not competent to disqualify a person unless the offence as such is established and the person concerned is convicted for the offence. Therefore, (an order of disqualification passed by aCourt under Section 17 of the M. V. Act is part of the sentencing process.

6. I may refer here to two decisions, which though do not deal with the point directly support the trend of reasoning adopted by me. In Garanand v. Emperor. AIR 1933 Rang 329. The accused was convicted in two cases. For one he was fined Rs. 40/- under Section 337 of the Penal Code and in the other he was fined Rs. 60/-. under R. 60-A of the Burma M. V. Rules read with Section 16 of the M. V. Act, In the second case his licence was suspended for one year. The question arose whether the sentence was appealable so as to bar a revision under Section 439 (51 of the Criminal P C. (1898). If the sentence was fine and the order of suspension of licence was not part of the sentence, the conviction was not appealable and the revision was competent. The Court held that an order of suspension of licence under the M. V. Acl was a much more serious part of the punishment than a sentence of fine. In Mohammed Sabir v. State of Maharashtra. 1978 Cr LJ 825 (Born) the accused was convicted for an offence under Section 279 of the Penal Code and sentenced to pay a fine of Rs. 100/- or in default to undergo simple imprisonment for 15 days. While dismissing a revision petition preferred against the order the Sessions Judge directed a copy of his judgment to be sent to the R T. O. for cancellation of the licence of the accused for a period of six months. The accused moved the High Court for quashing the above order on the ground that it amounted to enhancement of the sentence which the Sessions Judge was not competent to do in revision and without notice to the accused. It was held that disqualification being a consequence upon the conclusion of the guilt, the order passed amounted to sentence and addition of the clause regarding disqualification should be looked upon as enhancement of sentence.

7. The result of the discussion is that when an accused is convicted for an offence involving Motor Vehicle for which Section 17 of the M. V. Act is applicable and he is released on probation of good conduct, on executing a bond under Section 360 of the Cri p. C. it works not only on the main punishment for the offence for which he is convicted but also on the additional penalty under Section 17 of the M. V. Act. Therefore, in case where the Court releases a personon probation of good conduct under Section 360 of the Cri. P. C. a separate order under Section 17(1) or Section 17(4) of the M.V. Act disqualifying the offender for holding a driving licence need not be passed.

8. I may however state that I have my own reservations on the question whether on the facts and circumstances of the case it was a fit one for application of Section 360 of the Cri. P. C. Since the notice issued to the accused does not include interference with the main order, I do not want to say anything further on that aspect.

The revision case is disposed of as stated already.


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