VAIKUNTHAM JAGANADHAM Vs. STATE OF ORISSA
HIGH COURT OF ORISSA
STATE OF ORISSA
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Narasimham, J. -
(1.) This petition is against the conviction of the petitioner under Section 7 of the Essential Supplies (Temporary Powers) Act, 1946 (Act. XXIV (24) of 1946) for contravention of Clause VII (i) of the Orissa Food-grains Control Order, 1947 and the sentence of fine of Rs. 250/-passed by the Additional Sessions Judge of Koraput on appeal from the judgment of the S. D. M., Koraput.
(2.) The facts as found by both the Courts are these : The petitioner is a merchant of Salur in Madras Presidency. He loaded 39 bags of rice in a lorry (M. D. B. 1024) in the night of 7-7-48 at village Dumuriput. He himself sat in the lorry and it was driven by P. W. 7. While it was proceeding towards Salur along Vaikuntham Jaganadham vs. State of Orissa (21.07.1950 -ORIHC) Page 2 of 3 ganadham vs. State of Orissa (21.07.1950 -ORIHC) Page 2 of 3 the Koraput Salur road it was stopped at village Sembliguda about 28 miles from Madras border by the Sub-Inspector of Police (P. W. 1) and searched. The 39 bags of rice were seized by the S. I. and the petitioner did not show any permit authorising him to transport rice outside the Province of Orissa. The driver of the lorry (P. W. 7) has figured as a prosecution witness and stated that under instructions from the petitioner he was driving the lorry from Dumuriput to Salur when on the way it was stopped by the S. I. at Sembblguda and the rice was seized.
(3.) Mr. Rao contended that the evidence of P. W. 7 should not be accepted without adequate corroboration inasmuch as he was an accomplice in the commission of the crime. I have no doubt that this contention is correct because the transport of rice from any place in the Province of Orissa to any place outside the Province having been prohibited, if the driver of the lorry intentionally transported rice from Dumuriput to Salur under instructions from the petitioner, he is also equally guilty of the offence. In fact it appears that he has already been convicted for the offence in a separate trial. In the lower Court much stress was laid on the fact that he was not a competent witness to depose in this case because of his conviction for that offence in a separate trial. This argument is clearly wrong. All that can be said is that he is an accomplice and that his evidence must be adequately corroborated. But the competence of an accomplice to depose as a witness is beyond question and the mere fact that he was convicted for that offence does not in any way detract from his competence.;
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