Criminal Revision No. 587 of 2004. Case: Shekhar Sonkar Vs State of Chhattisgarh. Chhattisgarh High Court

Case Number:Criminal Revision No. 587 of 2004
Party Name:Shekhar Sonkar Vs State of Chhattisgarh
Counsel:For Appellant: Praveen Durandhar, Advocate and For Respondents: Sanjeev Pandey, Govt. Advocate
Judges:Anil Kumar Shukla, J.
Issue:Chhattisgarh Excise Act, 1915 - Sections 34, 34(1)(a)(2), 57, 57A, 59; Code of Criminal Procedure, 1973 (CrPC) - Sections 161, 437A
Judgement Date:March 27, 2017
Court:Chhattisgarh High Court
 
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Order:

Anil Kumar Shukla, J.

  1. This revision has been preferred against the judgement dated 18.11.2004 passed in Criminal Appeal No. 338 of 2003 by the First Additional Sessions Judge, Durg by which the judgement dated 08.07.2003 passed in Criminal Case No. 2369 of 2003 by the Chief Judicial Magistrate, Durg convicting the applicant for the offence under Section 34(1)(a)(2) of the Chhattisgarh Excise Act (for short, 'the Act') and sentencing him to undergo rigorous imprisonment for one year and to pay fine of Rs. 25,000/-, in default of payment of fine, to further undergo rigorous imprisonment for four months, has been affirmed.

  2. Prosecution story, in brief, is that on 26.07.2001 Excise Sub-Inspector S. Acharya (PW-3) received information from an informant and thereafter Sub Inspector S. Acharya (PW-3) along with other witnesses conducted raid in the house of the applicant vide search panchanama (Ex. P-1). They found 290 quarters X 180 ML = 52.200 bulk litres of Royal Master Whisky (foreign liquor) from the house of the applicant which was seized vide (Ex. P-2) and on getting tested, it was found to be foreign liquor. The applicant was asked to produce valid licence regarding the seized liquor but the applicant failed to produce any document. A case was registered against the applicant under Section 34(1)(a)(2) of the Act and a charge-sheet was filed against him in the Court of Chief Judicial Magistrate, Durg. The Chief Judicial Magistrate registered Criminal Case No. 2369 of 2003 against the applicant and by the judgement dated 08.07.2003 convicted and sentenced the applicant as mentioned in the first paragraph of this order.

  3. Being aggrieved by the judgement of the trial Court, the applicant preferred an appeal, being Criminal Appeal No. 338 of 2003. In the appeal, the First Additional Session Judge, Durg by judgment dated 18.11.2004 dismissed the appeal and affirmed the judgement of conviction and sentence passed by the trial Court. Hence, this revision.

  4. Learned counsel for the applicant argued that the applicant has been falsely implicated in the case and the findings arrived at by the Courts below are contrary to the facts and law. Learned counsel further argued that the Courts below have not properly appreciated the evidence and the documents on record and the physical possession of the seized liquor has not been legally proved by the prosecution. Learned counsel further argued that the seized liquor was not seized from the exclusive possession of the applicant. No independent witness has supported the case of the prosecution. Learned counsel further argued that the person who made seizure and investigated the matter is one and same, therefore, there is basic infirmity in the case of the prosecution which strikes at the root of the trial. Learned counsel further argued that there is non-compliance of provisions of Sections 57 and 57A of the Act. It was contended that non-compliance of provisions of Sections 57 and 57A of the Act vitiates the case of the prosecution. Learned counsel in support of the case of the applicant placed reliance on Umesh v. State of M.P. 2012(II) MPWN 46, State by Inspector of Police, Narcotic Intelligence Bureau, Madurai, Tamil Nadu v. Rajangam (2010) 15 SCC 369 and Megha Singh v. State of Haryana AIR 1995 SC 2339.

  5. On the other hand, learned State counsel supported the impugned judgment of conviction and sentence and opposed the arguments advanced by learned counsel for the...

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