Decided on May 14,1951

Sr. Govt. Advocate And Public Prosecutor On Behalf Of The State Of Assam Appellant
R. Bose And Anr. Respondents


Thadani, C.J. - (1.)THIS is an appeal under the provisions of Section 417, Criminal P.C. instituted by the Senior Govt. Advocate on behalf of the State of Assam against an order of acquittal passed by Magistrate of the First Class, Gauhati, dated 12 -7 -50, in a case in which one R. Bose, Manager, & B. Nag, Assistant Manager, Gauhati Electric Supply Corporation Ltd. were acquitted by him.
(2.)THE case against the accused persons was that they had committed a breach of Section 33(1), Electricity Act, 1910, by not reporting by wire & letter in the prescribed form & time a fatal accident in which one Ali Hossain was killed & one Giasuddin received a severe shock on 4 -10 -49 as a result of V.I.R. wires falling upon the deceased Ali Hossain & Giasuddin while they were working in a floating jetty of the Belur Flat belonging to the R.S.N. Co., at the Gauhati Steamer Ghat. The prosecution also alleged that the accused had committed a breach of Rule 49(1) of the said Act by fitting the electric wires on temporary bamboo poles without taking safety measures; insulation ordinary hemp cords becomes extremely brittle due to exposure & collapses at the slightest pressure of the floating jetty. It was also the prosecution case that the accused had committed breach of Rule 49(2) of the Act by fitting ordinary V.I.R. wires & using them as service mains when they are not meant for external use On account of their weak insulation properties & were liable to leak & thereby cause damage.
In disposing of this appeal, we will assume that the accused persons were the Manager & the Assistant Manager of the Gauhati Electric Supply Corporation Ltd. Section 33(1), Electricity Act, 1910 f however, is in these terms:

33.(1) - If any accident occurs in connection with the generation, transmission, supply or use of energy in or in connection with any part of the electric supply lines or other works of any person, the accident results or is likely to have resulted in loss of life or personal injury, such person shall give notice of the occurrence & of any loss of life or personal injury actually occasioned by the accident, in such form & within such time & to such authorities as the Provincial Govt. may, by general or special order, direct.

It is manifest that under Section 33(1) the person required to give notice of the occurrence & of any loss of life or personal injury occasioned by the accident, is the person to whom the electric supply lines or other works belong. A Manager or Assistant Manager of an electric supply corporation is not the owner of the works or supply lines the owner of the works or supply lines is the corporation itself. For the purposes of a prosecution for breach of Section 33(1), it is the Directors of the Corporation who would be liable to be prosecuted, & not the Manager or the Assistant Manager. In Interpreting the plain language of Section 33(1), we are not concerned with the difficulty involved in prosecuting Directors who ordinarily reside outside the State of Assam. The difficulty may be real or imaginary. We cannot see why the Directions of the Corporation could not have been summoned to stand their trial at Gauhati for breach if Section 33(1), if a breach had been committed. On his ground alone, the accused persons were entitled to an acquittal of the alleged breach of Section 33(1), Electricity Act, of 1910.

(3.)SO far as the charge in relation to the breath of Rule 49(1) is concerned, Mr. Medhi for the state of Assam conceded that bamboo poles were sufficient power, size & mechanical strength, & lid not ask the Court to set aside the order of acquittal for the alleged breach of Rule 49(1), Electricity Rules, 1937.

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