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Munni Lal Vs. State of Rajasthan - Court Judgment

LegalCrystal Citation
SubjectCriminal
CourtRajasthan High Court
Decided On
Case NumberS.B. Cr. Revision Petition No. 15 of 1979
Judge
Reported in1985(2)WLN43
AppellantMunni Lal
RespondentState of Rajasthan
Cases ReferredPammjeet Singh v. Municipal Corporation
Excerpt:
prevention of food adulteration act, 1954 - sections 7 & 16--benefit of probation--accused 18 years old & working as servant of shop--owner of shop acquitted by lower courts--held, it is a fit case to give benefit of probation;the petitioner who was a lad of 18 years and who was working in the said shop as servant was caught by the inspector and challaned. it is very unfortunate that he has been found guilty of this type of offence where the owner should have been actually punished.;it is a fit case where the petitioner should be given the benefit of probation.;revision partly accepted - section 2(k), 2(1), 7 & 40 & juvenile justice (care and protection of children) rules, 2007, rule 12 & 98 & juvenile justice act, 1986, section 2(h): [altamas kabir & cyriac joseph, jj] ..........pc on 18th march, 1978, the petitioner was 20 years of age. this court also assessed his age as 20 years. the sample was taken in the month of september, 1975. thus, the petitioner was below the age of 18 years when the shop was checked by the food-inspector and the sample was taken from his possession. in this light, it was argued that it is a fit case where the accused should be given the benefit of probation. both the lower courts have failed to appreciate this aspect that in year 1975, when the offence is alleged to have been committed by the petitioner, he was below 18 years of age, and at that time, it was mandatory for the courts to have granted the benefit of probation to such offenders, who were below 18 years of age. now, he argued that instead of sending him to jail to undergo.....
Judgment:

Gopal Kishan Sharma, J.

1. This revision petition is preferred against the judgment of the Sessions Judge, Jhunjhunu, dated 25th January, 1979, upholding the conviction and the sentence of the petitioner Under Section 7/16 of the Prevention of Food Adulteration Act (hereinafter for short, 'The Act'), passed by the CJM, Jhunjhunu. The petitioner was sentenced to 6 months' SI and a fine of Rs. 500/- by the learned CJM. The learned Sessions Judge also maintained the same conviction and the sentence.

2. The petitioner who was co-accused with Shankerlal, was prosecuted Under Section 7/16 of the Act, in the court of CJM, Jhunjhunu. The prosecution case was that Food Inspector Dhanraj took sample of 'Baisan-ki-Chakki' on 9th Sept. 75 from Shanker Mishthan Bhandar. Co-accused Shanker was its owner, and the petitioner was working in that shop as servant. The said sample was then sent for examination, and on examination, it did not conform with the standard prescribed for vegetable oil. After obtaining sanction, Shankerlal and the petitioner were prosecuted. The learned CJM, after the trial acquitted co-accused Shankerlal of the charge levelled aganst him, but be convicted the petitioner as mentioned above. He (Petitioner) then prefe-rred an appeal in the court of Sessions Judge, Jhunjhunu, which was dimissed.

3. Mr. Tibrewal did not argue the revision petition on merits. His first contention was that this case relates to the year 1975 and the law with regard to adulteration as it stood in the year 1975, has to be applied to the present case. After the amendment to the Act which carne into force in the year 1976, the provision of the Act were made more stringent. But, as this case relates to the year 1975, i.e. prior to the amendment, it should be governed by the old provisions. In support of his aforesaid argument, Mr. Tibrewal cited the case of Pammjeet Singh v. Municipal Corporation, Delhi : 1982CriLJ1241 . In that case which was also under the Act, their Lordships of the Supreme Court, observed as under:

The offence was committed as long back as in 1968 and nearly thirteen years have gone by since then. The infestation of insects was not of such extent as to necessitate the passing of a sentence of imprisonment upon the appellans. In 1968, when the offence was committed the legislature had prescribed a minimum sentence but the courts were allowed the discretion to impose either a sentence of imprisonment or a sentence of fine. Not only that, but courts had then the power, in appropriate cases, to release an offender, on probation. Taking these aspects of the matter inot consideration, we are of the view that the appellant should be released on probation of good conduct Accordingly, while confirming the conviction of the appellant, we set aside the sentence imposed upon him on his executing a bond of good behaviour for a period of one year in the sum of Rs. 2,000/-.

4. Mr. Tibrewal also argued that according to the statement of the petitioner recorded Under Section 313 Cr. PC on 18th March, 1978, the petitioner was 20 years of age. This Court also assessed his age as 20 years. The sample was taken in the month of September, 1975. Thus, the petitioner was below the age of 18 years when the shop was checked by the food-inspector and the sample was taken from his possession. In this light, it was argued that it is a fit case where the accused should be given the benefit of probation. Both the lower courts have failed to appreciate this aspect that in year 1975, when the offence is alleged to have been committed by the petitioner, he was below 18 years of age, and at that time, it was mandatory for the courts to have granted the benefit of probation to such offenders, who were below 18 years of age. Now, he argued that instead of sending him to jail to undergo the sentence of imprisonment awarded to him, he should be released on probation. It was also argued that this being his first offence, the accused needs some leniency.

5. I have given my thoughtful consideration to the arguments advanced by both the learned counsel. In view of the Paramjeet's case (supra), the petitioner in this case, who was below 18 years of age on 9th Sept. 1975, when the sample was taken, should have been granted benefit of probation. Even looking to the other aspects of this case also, that the incident relates to the year 1975 and that after a lapse of more than 8 years, it would be unjust and unreasonable if the petitioner is sent back to jail to undergo the sentence awarded to him, I feel that interest of justice would be met if he is released on probation.

6. Another aspect is that the petitioner was only a servant in the shop of Shankerlal co-accused who was the owner. Unfortunately, both the lower courts have acquitted the owner Shankerlal co-accused, and the State has not preferred any appeal against that acquittal. The petitioner who was a lad of 18 years and who was working in the said shop as servant was caught by the Inspector and challaned. It is very unfortunate that he has been found guilty of this type of offence where the owner should have been actually punished. As no appeal is there before this Court against the acquittal of the owner, nothing can be said about it.

7. In view of these circumstances, it is a fit case where the petitioner should be given the benefit of probation.

8. The revision petition is, therefore, partly accepted. The conviction of the petitioner Under Section 7/16 of the Act, is maintained, but, instead of passing any sentence against him, he is granted the benefit of probation. It is ordered that the accused petitioner, Munnilal be recorded probation on his furnishing a personal bond in the sum of Rs. 1,000/- with one surety in the like amount to the satisfaction of the trial court for keeping the peace and being of good behaviour for a period of one year. In case, he repeats any such offence, during 1 year, he be taken into custody to undergo the sentence of imprisonment awarded to him by the courts below. Three months time is granted to produce the bail-bonds.


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