Jagdish Rai @ Jagdish Lal vs State Of Punjab on 5 October, 2000

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Punjab-Haryana High Court
Jagdish Rai @ Jagdish Lal vs State Of Punjab on 5 October, 2000
Author: V Bali
Bench: V Bali


V.K. Bali, J.

1. This revision has been directed against order of conviction and sentence recorded by Additional Chief Judicial Magistrate, Bathinda, dated October 9, 1987 vide which petitioner herein was held guilty under Section 9 of the Opium Act and sentenced to undergo RI for one year and to pay fine of Rs. 500/- or in default thereof, to further undergo RI for two months. On appeal, the order aforesaid was upheld by the learned Sessions Judge, Bathinda vide order dated September 10, 1988.

2. In brief, the prosecution case has been that on February 19, 1983 DSP Sudarshan Singh Chopra along with SI Balwanl Singh and other Police Officials was proceeding in a government jeep towards village Jodhpur Romana in connection with patrolling and when the police party reached nearthe bridge of canal minor in the area of village Jodhpur Ranana, petitioner was seen coming from the opposite side carrying a bag in this right hand. On seeing the police party, petitioner tried to slip away, but, on suspicion, he was apprehended by Balwant Singh SI and bag was searched which was found to con-tain 5 kgs of opium wrapped in a glazed paper. 50 Gms. of opium was taken out as sample and sample and the remainder opium were sealed with the seal bearing impression

‘BS’ and taken into possession.

3. There is no need to give further details of this case as, all that has been urged in support of this revision it that petitioner was 56 years of age at the time of commission of crime, i.e., February 19, 1983. A period of more than 17 years has gone by and petitioner is undergoing a protracted trial spanned over all these years. He was the first offender and deserves to be released on probation under the Probation of Offenders Act.

4. The contention of learned Counsef deserves to be accepted but only half-way through. No doubt, it is true that petitioner was 56 yeas of age as on 19.2.1983 and should be now 73 years of age and that he happens to be a first offender as also that he has been undergoing agonising trial spanning over a period of 17 years, the fact that he was found in possession of 5 kgs. of opium also cannot be lost sight of. Intotality of the facts and circumstances of this case, this Court is of the considered view that ends of justice would be fully served if, while maintaining the order of conviction against the petitioner, the sentence imposed upon him is reduced to the one petitioner has already undergone. It may be mentioned here that petitioner has certainly undergone imprisonment for two months and two days inasmuch as he was arrested by the appellate court on 10.9.1988 and was granted bail by this Court on 12.11.1988. Further, vide order dated 7.9.2000. bail granted to the petitioner was cancelled and if ord^r aforesaid might have been implemented, presumably, petitioner must have undergone further sentence of 20-25 days. This court is also of the view that fine imposed upon the petitioner by the courts below should be enhanced to Rs. 2000/- which is maximum to be imposed under the Opium Act.

5. In view of what has been said above, this revision is partly aliowed. Whereas, con-viction recorded against the petitioner is maintained, sentence imposed upon him is reduced to the one already undergone by him. Petitioner shall, however, pay fine of Rs. 1500/- more, or in default thereof, he shall further undergo RI for one month.

6. Revision partly allowed.

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