DULICHAND BOTHRA Vs. STATE
HIGH COURT OF GAUHATI
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P.K. Goswami, C.J. -
(1.) THIS appeal is directed against the judgment of conviction of the appellants Under Section 123/U4 of the Motor Vehicles Act. They were sentenced to pay a fine of Rs. 500/ - each, in default to suffer rigorous imprisonment for five months.
(2.) IT appears that the Deputy Commissioner, Garo Hills, personally found Sudhir Kumar Das, one of the accused -appellants, driving a truck. No. AST 197 on the 26th mile on the Tura -Dalu road carrying 11 persons and without a licence That was a Sunday the 13th October, 1968 and the Deputy Commissioner on 14th October, 1968 noted these facts and issued summons on the two accused persons. He also took possession of the documents and papers found in possession of the driver. It appears on the 14th when the accused persons 'personally appeared, he examined both of them. He put to accused Sudhir Chandra Dey the following questions:
Q: On 13 -10 -68 you are found carrying 11 (eleven) persons in vehicle AST 197 (Truck) without driving licence on the 26th mile of Tura Dalu Road." The accused answered: "Yes, I have carried 11 (eleven) persons without having valid driving licence.
The other accused, who is the owner of the vehicle was put the following question :
Q. On 13 -10 -68 you have allowed Driver Sudhir Dey to carry 11 persons in your vehicle AST 197 (Truck) violating the permit conditions.
And he answered: "I do not have any knowledge about it." This was the only thing which the learned Deputy Commissioner did on the 14th after which he passed the impugned order convicting the accused persons as stated above.
Mr. Das, the learned Counsel for the - appellants, submits that the learned Deputy Commissioner, who himself detected the case, should not have disposed of the matter. He further submits that even on the merits the offences are not proved. Mr. Sarma, the learned Public Prosecutor, submits that the Rules for the Administration of Justice and Police in the Garo Hills District, clearly authorise the Deputy Commissioner to administer Criminal justice under the Rules and the procedure to be followed by the learned Deputy Commissioner under Rule 2 is to be guided by the spirit of the Code of Criminal Procedure as far as it is applicable to the circumstances of the district and consistent with the Rules. The learned Counsel, therefore submits that the trial was not at all irregular and since the first accused has admitted his guilt, there is nothing erroneous about the conviction and sentence.
(3.) ON the first question raised by Mr. Das, it is sufficient to state that the learned Deputy Commissioner even if he was authorised to deal with the matter, should have informed the accused of their right to have the trial in another Court. It is true that this kind of procedure is only known to the Code of Criminal Procedure Under Section 190(1)(c) thereof read with Section 191. Yet, the principle under these sections is what appertains to a civilised notion of a trial in a Criminal case. Whether the spirit of the Criminal Procedure Code applies or the law itself applies as. such it is absolutely necessary that administration of justice should give an impression that an impartial tribunal disposes of a case before it. In a Criminal Trial, the prosecutor cannot be a Judge. Here, the learned Deputy Commissioner himself having detected the offence was in the position of a witness and by that very position, he has disqualified himself from disposing of this case. The fact that only the spirit of the Criminal Procedure Code applies is no answer to a trial of this description. Under any system, this ground is enough to quash the entire proceedings before the court below.;
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