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The Public Prosecutor Vs. Ramlal Sabak - Court Judgment

LegalCrystal Citation
SubjectCriminal
CourtChennai High Court
Decided On
Case NumberCriminal Appeal No. 478 of 1949
Judge
Reported inAIR1950Mad508
ActsMadras Prohibition Act, 1937 - Sections 4(1)
AppellantThe Public Prosecutor
RespondentRamlal Sabak
Appellant AdvocateAsst. Public Prosecutor
Respondent AdvocateV.T. Rangaswami Aiyangar ; and T.E. Raghavachari, Advs.
DispositionAppeal dismissed
Excerpt:
- - it seems to me therefore that the learned magistrate was perfectly justified in holding that the accused before him was not in possession of m......used for the purpose of conveying army personnel and their articles. on 25th december 1947, one major karandikar sent a slip, ex. d. 2, to d. w. 2, who was the manager of the military canteen, to the effect that one bottle of 'parry gin' should be supplied to him as soon as possible; and he wanted it immediately. on that requisition by major karandikar d. w. 2 thinking that he was not competent to send the gin straightway went to the president of the mess, major smith, and asked him what should be done. major smith gave an authority evidenced by ex. d. 4, by which he authorised messrs. johar and sons to supply one bottle of army gin to major karandikar direct to his bungalow, as there was no stock in the mess at that time. there was a further direction that the account of the price.....
Judgment:

Govinda Menon, J.

1. One Ramlal, the General Manager of Messrs. Johar and Sons, Army and Canteen Contractors, was prosecuted under Section 4 (l), Madras Prohibition Act for having been in possession of liquor without a permit under the Act. The trial Court found that the accused did not commit any offence, because it could not be said that he was in possession of M. O. 1, a bottle of gin. The Provincial Government appeals under Section 417, Criminal P. C. against the order of acquittal. The learned Public Prosecutor contends that the respondent must be deemed to have been in possession of the bottle of liquor and since he had no license, the order of the lower Court was not justified.

2. Messrs. Johar and Sons are a partnership doing business as Army and Canteen contractors, and as such they are the owners of motor lorries and trucks used for the purpose of conveying army personnel and their articles. oN 25th December 1947, one Major Karandikar sent a slip, Ex. D. 2, to D. W. 2, who was the manager of the military canteen, to the effect that one bottle of 'Parry gin' should be supplied to him as soon as possible; and he wanted it immediately. On that requisition by Major Karandikar D. W. 2 thinking that he was not competent to send the gin straightway went to the president of the mess, Major Smith, and asked him what should be done. Major Smith gave an authority evidenced by Ex. D. 4, by which he authorised Messrs. Johar and Sons to supply one bottle of army gin to Major Karandikar direct to his bungalow, as there was no stock in the mess at that time. There was a further direction that the account of the price should be debited in the mess account. In pursuance of the above direction, a bottle of gin was being taken from the stores to the residence of Major Karandikar when on the way the lorry was intercepted by a police constable and the bottle of gin seized. It was in pursuance of this seizure that a complaint was filed against the General Manager of Messrs. Johar and Sons.

3. The question is whether when the bottle of gin was seized from the truck or lorry belonging to the Army and Canteen contractors when the same was being transported from the stores or mess to the bungalow of Major Karartdikar, it can be said that the General Manager of the company who owned the lorry was in possession of this bottle of liquor. Despite the strenuous argument of the learned Public Prosecutor that it should be held that the owner of the lorry must be deemed to be in possession of the article. I am of opinion that the owner was simply acting as an agent of the person entitled to have the liquor, namely, Major Karandikar or Major Smith. It was only the physical act of transporting this one bottle from the mess or stores to Bungalow of Major Karandikar that was doneby the General Manager. By some stretch of imagination it might be possible to hold that the driver of the lorry was in possession of the article in question; but by no stretch of imagination is it possible to hold that the General Manager of the company who only acted as supervisor over the workmen and other affairs of the company was in possession of this article. It seems to me therefore that the learned Magistrate was perfectly justified in holding that the accused before him was not in possession of M. 0. 1. If the argument of the learned Public Prosecutor is accepted, then any servant or a common carrier or even a friend who at the instance of the holder of a permit conveys a bottle of liquor from, say, a mess to the bungalow of a person entitled to have the liquor, will be held guilty of an offence under Section 4(l) of the Prohibition Act. It seems to me that the Legislature never intended that the possession as contemplated in that section should be extended to such kind of control.

4. I am therefore of opinion that the order of acquittal is right, and this appeal is dismissed.


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