RAMASWAMY GOUNDAR Vs. STATE OF KERALA
HIGH COURT OF KERALA
STATE OF KERALA
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(1.) The first contention of counsel of the petitioners is that the Sessions Judge has erred in treating the proceeding as one under S.517 of the Code of Criminal Procedure.
(2.) The District Magistrate acquitted the petitioners of offences under Clause.3 and 3A of the Southern States (Regulation of Export of Rice) Order, 1964 read with S.2, 3 and 7 of the Essential Commodities Act, 1955 and R.125(9) of the Defence of India Rules, 1962; but, he directed that the sale proceeds of the paddy seized be credited to the Government. The petitioners filed a memorandum before the Sessions Judge, which was drafted as a criminal revision petition. However, it appears that the same was later on converted into a criminal miscellaneous petition and the Sessions Judge passed orders only on that petition. Therefore, the Sessions Judge cannot be said to be in error when he treated the petition as one under S.517 of the Code of Criminal Procedure for return of the articles involved in the crime. Then, it may possibly be argued that in that event, the petition should have been to the District Magistrate who passed the order. Looking at the matter a little more closely, what appears is that since the District Magistrate himself passed an order of confiscation, the petition before the Sessions Judge should have been treated as one in revision; and the order passed by the Sessions Judge would then fall under S.520 of the Code. At any rate, I need not decide that question, because, in my opinion, the petitioners cannot succeed even if the petition before the Sessions Judge was one in revision against the order of the District Magistrate directing the forfeiture of the paddy.
(3.) The next contention then arises. The counsel of the petitioners argues that forfeiture under S.7(1)(b) of the Essential Commodities Act is a punishment in addition to the fine and imprisonment contemplated by the previous clause (a) of the sub-section. The counsel proceeds that if forfeiture is an additional punishment, it can arise only on conviction and the order of forfeiture passed by the District Magistrate after acquittal is then illegal. The main basis for this argument is the use of the conjunctive word 'and' at the end of the proviso to clause (a) of sub-s.(1) of S.7. I may straightaway observe that the conjunction 'and' does not necessarily mean that what follows is an additional punishment on conviction.;
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