RAMESAN Vs. STATE OF KERALA
SUPREME COURT OF INDIA
STATE OF KERALA
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ASHOK BHUSHAN,J. -
(1.)This appeal has been filed against the judgment of the High Court of Kerala dated 06.03.2014 by which
Criminal Appeal of the appellant has been dismissed.
(2.)Brief facts of the case giving rise to this appeal are:-
2.1 A First Information Report was registered against Ramesan under Sections 55 (a) and (g) of the Kerala Abkari Act [1 of 1077 (ME)]. Charge under Sections 55(a) and (g) of the Kerala Abkari Act was framed. Prosecution led oral and documentary evidence to prove the charge. Statement of Ramesan was also recorded under Section 313 of Cr.P.C., who completely denied the incident and charge.
2.2 Additional Session Judge vide its order dated 20.12.2006 convicted the first accused Ramesan under Section 55(a) and imposed imprisonment for a period of two years and a fine of Rs. One Lakh. The accused was also convicted and sentenced under Section 55(g) of the same punishment of imprisonment of two years and fine of Rs. One Lakh. In default of payment of fine amount, accused was to undergo simple imprisonment for six months each under Sections 55(a) and (g) of the Abkari Act.
2.3 An appeal was filed by the first accused Ramesan in the High Court being Criminal Appeal No. 254 of 2007 on 06.02.2007. After filing of the appeal, the appellant Ramesan died on 21.12.2007. The High Court noticed the factum of death of the appellant on 21.12.2007, however, proceeded to decide the appeal on merits referring to the principle under Section 394 Cr.P.C. The High Court after considering the evidence on record upheld the conviction. The High Court took the view that since the appellant died pending the appeal, the sentence of imprisonment has become unworkable, however, regarding the imposition of fine, there is no reason to hold that Court below committed any mistake and the appeal was consequently dismissed. This appeal has been filed by Girija A., the legal heir of Ramesan (deceased).
(3.)Learned counsel for the appellant contended that in view of the death of the accused on 21.12.2007,
the High Court ought to have abated the entire
appeal. It is submitted that Section 394 of Cr.P.C.
saves the appeal, which arises against sentence of
fine only. When there was composite sentence of
imprisonment as well as fine, the appeal has to abate
both against the sentence of imprisonment as well as
fine. It is contended that High Court committed
error in proceeding to decide the appeal on merits.
High Court ought to have abated the appeal in toto.
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