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In Re: Vella Pinna thevar - Court Judgment

LegalCrystal Citation
SubjectCriminal
CourtChennai High Court
Decided On
Reported in(1970)2MLJ383
AppellantIn Re: Vella Pinna thevar
Cases ReferredState of Andhra Pradesh v. Madiga Boosenna and Ors.
Excerpt:
- - 1 found four people distilling arrack in a disused well. inasmuch as the prosecution has failed to prove that what has been seized from the accused is 'liquor',the conviction under section 4 (1) (a) is set aside......sugarcane. his further evidence is that the sub-inspector and party came there and questioned the accused and sakkarai about distillation of arrack. the petitioner denied any knowledge about this. there was a wordy altercation between p.w. 1 and the accused. thereafter, the sub-inspector (p.w. 1) took the accused and sakkarai with him, saying that sakkarai was one who would file cases against the sub-inspectors.the time was then 9 or 10 a.m. according to d.w. 1 the time was 9 or 10 a.m. whereas p.w. 1 would swear that the accused was arrested at about 5 or 6 a.m. on 9th march, 1939. thus, there is this fundamental variation even with regard to the time of arrest of the petitioner. the evidence of d.w. 1 proving the fact of the petitioner cutting sugarcane, is not challenged in.....
Judgment:
ORDER

K.N. Mudaliyar, J.

1. The petitioner is convicted for offences under Sections 4 (1) (a), 4 (1) (b) and 4 (1) (g) of the the Madras Prohibition Act. No seperate sentences-were passed for the offences under Sections 4 (1) (a) and 4 (1) (g) of the said Act.

2. On the occurrence night, at about 5 a.m. P.W. 1 found four people distilling arrack in a disused well. Out of the four persons, two ran away from the scene. The petitioner and one Sakkarai were arrested and were brought to the police station on 9th March, 1969, at about 5 a.m., or a little later. The wash and the distilled arrack and other articles of contraband were seized and brought to the station and all these have been marked before the trial Court.

3. The only evidence is that of P.W. 1 unsupported by any other testimony. Therefore, the evidence of P.W. 1 has got to be scrutinised with great care and caution.

4. A legal ground has been raised for quashing the conviction under Section 4(1) (a). The learned Counsel for the petitioner argues that the prosecution will have to establish that the articles seized from the accused were liquor under Section 3 (9) of the Act. Distilled arrack has not been subjected to scientific analysis by a Chemical Examiner. The learned Counsel bases his argument on the authority of the decision of the Supreme Court of India in State of Andhra Pradesh v. Madiga Boosenna and Ors. (1968) 1 S.C.J 160 : (1968)1 M.L.J 57 : (1963) l An.W.R. 57 : (1968) M.L.J. 12. This argument has considerable force. Inasmuch as the prosecution has failed to prove that what has been seized from the accused is ' liquor', the conviction under Section 4 (1) (a) is set aside.

5. We are now concerned with the manufacturing process of liquor. The word ' manufacture ' in Section 4 (1) (b) would certainly cover the process of manufacture and not necessarily the finished product of liquor. In the light of the evidence on record, the question arises for determination as to whether the offences under sections 4 (1) (b) and 4 (1) (g) are proved. No doubt, P.W. 1 speaks about the implements used by the accused, for the manufacture of liquor. In fact, these two offences overlap each other to a large extent. In view of the lack of supporting evidence corroborating the testimony of P.W. 1, I feel hesitant to act on the sole testimony of P. W 1, for the reason that in the course of the cross-examination of P.W. i it has been suggested to P.W. 1 that this accused filed a complaint against four Sub-Inspectors in the Court at Usilampatti and that he was motivated to file this false complaint against the accused. It has been suggested to P.W. 1 that the petitioner and one Sakkarai were engaged in the field to cut sugarcane in Samaya-nallur village. The said suggestion has been refuted by P.W. 1. But, D.W. 1 proves that as he was irrigating his land with water, he saw the petitioner and Sakkarai cutting the sugarcane. His further evidence is that the Sub-Inspector and party came there and questioned the accused and Sakkarai about distillation of arrack. The petitioner denied any knowledge about this. There was a wordy altercation between P.W. 1 and the accused. Thereafter, the Sub-Inspector (P.W. 1) took the accused and Sakkarai with him, saying that Sakkarai was one who would file cases against the Sub-Inspectors.

The time was then 9 or 10 a.m. According to D.W. 1 the time was 9 or 10 a.m. whereas P.W. 1 would swear that the accused was arrested at about 5 or 6 a.m. on 9th March, 1939. Thus, there is this fundamental variation even with regard to the time of arrest of the petitioner. The evidence of D.W. 1 proving the fact of the petitioner cutting sugarcane, is not challenged in cross-examination. I feel hesitant to act upon the testimony of P.W. 1

6. I give the benefit of doubt to the accused and he is acquitted of all the charges. Fine, if paid, is directed to be refunded to him. His bail bond shall stand cancelled.


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