1. The respondent herein was convicted for an offence under Section 3(a) of the Railway Property (Unlawful Possession) Act and released under Section 4(1) of the Probation of Offenders Act on his bond for Rs. 300/- with two sureties to be of good behaviour for a period one year by the Additional First Class Magistrate, Trichirapalli. The State in this revision contends that Section 3 of the Act provides for a minimum sentence and that as such the Court below erred in releasing him under the Probation of Offenders Act.
2. Clause (a) of Section 3 of the Railway Property (Unlawful Possession) Act, 1966 states that unless for adequate reasons to be recorded in the judgment, the Court shall impose on, the person convicted under Section 3 a sentence for a minimum of one year with a fine of Rs. 1000/-. The question which arises for determination is as to whether despite the fact that a minimum sentence of imprisonment with fine having been prescribed by the Legislature for a person found guilty under Section 3 of the Railway Property (Unlawful Possession) Act, the Court can still resort to the provisions of the Probation of Offenders Act. This Act, as pointed out by the Supreme Court in Rathanlal v. State of Punjab : 1965CriLJ360 is a milestone in the progress of the modern liberal trend of reform in the field of criminology. It is the result of the recognition of the doctrine that the object of criminal law is more to reform the individual offender than to punish him. This Act received the assent of the President on the 16th of May, 1958. Section 18 of this Act specifically excludes from its purview (1) offences under Section 5(2) of the Prevention of Corruption Act, (2) offences under the Suppression of Immoral Traffic in Women and Girls Act, 1956 and (3) Section 31 of the Reformatory Schools Act 1897. The Railway Property (Unlawful Possession) Act is of the year 1966 and this is long subsequent to the Probation of Offenders Act. Therefore there could have been no specific exclusion of this Act under Section 18. In the Railway Property (Unlawful Possession) Act there is no specific exclusion of the applicability of the provisions of the Probation of Offenders Act. Their Lordships of the Supreme Court had to deal with an offence under Section 16(1) of the Prevention of Food Adulteration Act as amended by Act 49 of 1964 in Criminal Appeal No. 54 of 1969 Gurumukh Singh v. State of Punjab. By this amendment a minimum sentence with a minimum fine was provided for in Section 16. Their Lordships have held that even in a case under Section 16(1)(a) of the Prevention of Food Adulteration Act which provides for a minimum sentence the benevolent provisions of Section 4(1) of the Probation of Offenders Act could be applied.
3. Thus except in regard to the offences specifically referred to in Section 18 of the Probation of Offenders Act, for other offences under the other Acts, even though a minimum sentence is provided for, the benevolent provisions of the Probation of Offenders Act could be applied if the other conditions are satisfied. The learned Magistrate has applied this provision and there is no case to interfere with his order. The revision fails and the same is dismissed.