ABRAHAM JOHN Vs. KABALA STATE
HIGH COURT OF KERALA
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(1.) The petitioner was charged under S.467, 472, 420 and 477A of the Penal Code and was convicted under S.467 and 472 and sentenced to rigorous imprisonment for 3 years on each count, the sentences to run concurrently, by the Assistant Sessions Judge of Irinjalakuda. On the other two counts he was acquitted. On appeal the Sessions Judge of Trichur confirmed the convictions, but reduced the sentences to rigorous imprisonment for 2 years on each count, the sentences to run concurrently. The criminal revision petition is directed against that conviction and sentence by the Sessions Judge; and the case has been placed before a Division Bench by a learned Judge of this Court, as our learned brother thought that the case involved some important questions of law.
(2.) The petitioner took the Cee Gee Picture Palace at Pudukkad on lease from Pw. 11. The tickets to be sold at the theatre were to be stamped with the seal of the Pudukkad Panchayat before use in the theatre. The practice was that the petitioner obtained the tickets stamped with the seal of the Panchayat and then sold them at the theatre and thereafter submitted returns regarding the sale of the stamped tickets, on the basis of which the Panchayat assessed the petitioner for entertainments tax under the Kerala Local Authorities Entertainments Tax Act, 1961. The charge was that the petitioner used two counterfeit seals (M. Os. 1 and 2) made by him, stamped the printed tickets and sold them. The two questions of law raised before us by the counsel of the petitioner are that the printed tickets impressed with the forged seal thereon sold at the theatre do not come within 'valuable security' as defined in S.30 of the Penal Code; and that the search and recovery of M. Os. 1 and 2 and the sealed tickets were not legally conducted, because the search was not proper. On the second question, it is also urged that the trunk (box) from which M. Os. 1 and 2 were recovered was not proved to belong to the petitioner.
(3.) S.30 of the Penal Code defines 'valuable security' as any document which is, or purports to be, a document whereby any legal right is created, extended, transferred, restricted, extinguished or released, or whereby any person acknowledges that he lies under legal liability or has not a certain legal right. S.5(1)(a) of the Kerala Local Authorities Entertainments Tax Act, 1961 provides that save in the cases referred to in S.4, no person shall be admitted for payment to any entertainment where the payment is subject to entertainments tax, except with a ticket stamped with an impressed, embossed, engraved or adhesive stamp issued by the local authority indicating the proper tax for such ticket. Under S.3 of the Act any local authority is authorised to levy entertainments tax at a rate not less than ten per cent and not more than twenty five per cent on each payment for admission to any entertainment. S.4 then provides that on the application of the proprietor of any entertainment the local authority may compound the tax payable in respect of such entertainment for a consolidated payment. In the case before us, such compounding under S.4 was not done; and the tax was collected, as already indicated, on the number of sealed tickets sold at the theatre as disclosed by the returns submitted by the proprietor of the entertainment, the petitioner. What happened in this case, as found concurrently by both the lower courts, was that the petitioner used counterfeit seals (M. Os. 1 and 2) and stamped the tickets printed by him and issued them at the theatre; and that these tickets with the forged seals on them were not included in the returns submitted by the petitioner. As pointed out already, under S.5(1)(a) of the Entertainments Tax Act, no proprietor of an entertainment shall issue a ticket not stamped with an impressed, embossed, etc. seal of the local authority; and a ticket stamped with an impressed, embossed, etc. seal of the local authority sold at the entertainment entitles the purchaser thereof to enter the theatre and witness the entertainment. By the sale of such a ticket, the proprietor of the entertainment collects a price inclusive of the entertainments tax. Therefore, there is no doubt that the ticket sold by the petitioner comes within the definition of 'valuable security' as contemplated by S.30 of the Penal Code. By the seal a legal right is created in the petitioner to collect a price for the ticket inclusive of the entertainments tax; and the purchaser of the ticket also gets a right to enter the theatre and witness the entertainment. The tickets are thus 'valuable security'; and this argument has to be rejected.;
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