PUBLIC PROSECUTOR Vs. SHAIK DASTAGIRI
HIGH COURT OF ANDHRA PRADESH
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(1.) THE accused was charged before the Sub-Magistrate, Kamalapuram under Sections 4-A and 4 (1) (b) of the Madras Prohibition Act. The case against him was that he was found in a state of drunkenness and was also distilling I. D. Arrack. In support of the prosecution case two witnesses were examined, P. W. 1, the Prohibition Sub-Inspector and P. W. 2, the Sub-Inspector of the Striking Force. The accused, while admitting that he was found in a state of drunkenness, denied that he was distilling ID Arrack at; the scene of offence. The Magistrate acquitted him under Section 4 (1) (b) of the Madras Prohibition Act, as in his opinion it was not made out beyond reasonable doubt that he was manufacturing illicit arrack. He convicted him under Section 4-A of the Madras Prohibition Act having regard to his admission, But he passed no sentence on the accused as he thought that "the accused was truthful from the beginning to the extent of his drunkenness and also by reason of the fact that a distillation case is put up against him, which he could successfully rebut," In that view, he directed release of the accused on his executing a bond for Rs. 200/- With one surety in a like sum for good behaviour during a period of one year under Section 4 (1) of the Madras Probation of Offenders Act. The State Government seeks to have this order revised.
(2.) IT is urged in support of this petition (1) that Section 4 (1) of the Madras Probation of Offenders Act could not be invoiced in favour of persons convicted under the Madras Prohibition Act; and (2) that the order is unsustainable as it does not conform to the requirements of Section 4 (1) of the Madras Probation of Offenders Act.
(3.) IN order to appreciate the contentions put forward on behalf of the State, it is necessary to refer to the terms of Section 4 (1) of the Madras Probation of Offenders Act. The section says: When any person not under 21 years of age is found guilty of an offence punishable with imprisonment for not more than seven years, or when any person under 21 years of age or any woman is found guilty of an offence not punishable with death or transportation for life, and no previous conviction is proved against the offender if it appears to the court by which he is found guilty regard being had to the age, character, antecedents or physical or mental condition of the offender and to the circumstances in which the offence was committed, that it is expedient that the offender should be released on probation of good conduct, the court may, instead of sentencing him at once to any punishment, direct that he be released on his entering into a bond, with or without surety to appear and receive sentence when called upon during such period not exceeding three years as the court may direct, and in the meantime to keep the peace and be of good behaviour. The intendment of this seems to be the same as that of Section 562, Criminal Procedure Code and the language of this section is identical with Section 562 (1), Criminal Procedure Code. It is seen that so far as persons above 21 years of age are concerned, the section is restricted to offences punishable with imprisonment for not more than seven years. There is no warrant for reading a restriction into this section as regards the nature of offences, excepting the one mentioned therein. The section does not show that it is applicable only to offences under particular enactments. If so, there is no reason why the benefit of this section cannot be extended to offences under the Madras Prohibition Act;
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