Minor recovery of contraband, Accused facing the criminal proceedings since 5 years - Sentence reduced from one year R.I. to 5 months R.I

Minor recovery of contraband, Accused facing the criminal proceedings since 5 years - Sentence reduced from one year R.I. to 5 months R.I

PUNJAB AND HARYANA HIGH COURT


Before :- Sham Sunder, J.
Crl. Appeal No. 2064-SB of 2008


Bhura Ram S/o Jai Ram R/o Nangal, P.S. Ratia, Haryana Versus The State of Punjab, D/d. 17.11.2008


For the Appellant :- Mr. Madan Sandhu, Advocate.
For the Respondent :- Mr. S.S. Bhullar, DAG, Punjab.

Narcotic Drugs and Psychotropic Substances Act, 1985, Section 15 - Reduction of sentence - Minor recovery of contraband - He has been facing the criminal proceedings, since 10.9.2003 - Fit case, warranting the reduction of sentence -

Sentence reduced from one year R.I. to 5 months R.I.
[Para 10 and 12]


JUDGMENT


Sham Sunder, J. - This appeal is directed against the judgment of conviction, and the order of sentence dated 24.9.2008, rendered by the Judge, Special Court, Mansa, vide which he convicted the accused/appellant, for the offence, punishable under Section 15 of the Narcotic Drugs & Psychotropic Substances Act, 1985 (hereinafter called as 'the Act' only) and sentenced him, to undergo rigorous imprisonment for a period of one year, and to pay a fine of Rs. 1000/- , and in default of payment of the same, to undergo rigorous imprisonment for another period of two months, for having been found in possession of 21 kgs. 100 grams Poppy-husk, (which falls within the ambit of non-commercial quantity), without any permit or licence.

2. The facts, in brief, are that on 10.9.2003, a police party, headed by Jasvinder Singh, ASI, was going towards Sardulgarh, Bhunder, Kahnewal, etc. in official Gypsy, in connection with patrolling, from the side of link road Bhunder, and when it reached at a distance of 1-1/2 killas ahead of turning, the accused was seen coming from the opposite direction, from near siphon, carrying a plastic bag, on his head. On seeing the police party, he tried to slip away, but was apprehended, on suspicion. The search of the bag, being carried by him, was conducted, in the presence of Raminder Singh, DSP, as a result whereof 21 kgs. 100 grams poppy-husk, was recovered, therefrom. Two samples of 50 grams each, were taken out therefrom, and the remaining poppy- husk was put into the same bag. The samples, and the bag, containing the remaining poppy-husk, were converted into parcels, duly sealed, and taken into possession, vide a separate recovery memo. Ruqa was sent to the Police Station, on the basis whereof, formal FIR was registered. Rough site plan of the place of recovery, was prepared. The accused was arrested. After the completion of investigation, the accused was challaned.

3. On appearance, in the Court, the copies of documents, relied upon by the prosecution, were supplied to the accused. Charge under Section 15 of the Act, was framed against him, to which he pleaded not guilty, and claimed judicial trial.

4. The prosecution, in support of its case, examined Jasvinder Singh, ASI (PW-1), the Investigating Officer, Harpal Singh, HC (PW-2), a formal witness, Raminder Singh, DSP (PW-3), a witness to the recovery, Balwinder Singh, Inspector (PW-4), before whom the case property, the accused, the sample parcels, and the witnesses, were produced, and who after verifying the investigation, affixed his seal, on the case property, Kulwant Singh, SI, (PW-5), who was handed over the case property with seals intact, and Bhupinder Singh, SI (PW-6), who took over the charge as SHO on 7.10.2003, and handed over the sample parcels, and the sample impression of the seal, to a Constable, for depositing the same, in the office of the Chemical Examiner. Thereafter, the Addl. Public Prosecutor for the State, closed the prosecution evidence.

5. The statement of the accused, under Section 313 Cr.P.C., was recorded, and he was put all the incriminating circumstances, appearing against him, in the prosecution evidence. He pleaded false implication. He, however, did not lead any evidence, in his defence.

6. After hearing the Addl. Public Prosecutor for the State, the Counsel for the accused, and, on going through the evidence, on record, the trial Court, convicted and sentenced the accused/appellant, as stated hereinbefore.

7. Feeling aggrieved, against the judgment of conviction, and the order of sentence, rendered by the trial Court, the instant appeal, was filed by the appellant.

8. I have heard the learned Counsel for the parties, and have gone through the evidence and record, of the case, carefully.

9. The Counsel for the appellant, did not challenge the conviction, recorded by the trial Court. Even otherwise, he could not successfully challenge the same, for the reasons, that the trial Court, after carefully going through the evidence of the aforesaid witnesses, found the same to be cogent, convincing, reliable, and trustworthy. The trial Court also rightly came to the conclusion, on the basis of the evidence of the formal witnesses, that the link evidence was complete. The trial Court was, thus, right in coming to the conclusion, on the basis of the reliable evidence of the aforesaid witnesses, that the accused committed the offence, punishable under Section 15 of the Act. This Court, on thorough scrutiny of the evidence of the prosecution witnesses, also comes to the conclusion, that the same is reliable. The trial Court, thus, rightly convicted the accused. There is no reason, to interfere with the wellreasoned findings of the trial Court, in this regard.

10. The Counsel for the appellant, however, submitted that the recovery effected from the appellant, was minor, and the sentence awarded to him, by the trial Court, is harsh. He further submitted that the sentence awarded to the accused be reduced, as he has been facing the criminal proceedings, since 10.9.2003, the date when he was apprehended, in this case. The submission of the Counsel for the appellant, in this regard, appears to be correct. Since, the appellant has been facing the criminal proceedings, since 10.9.2003, it is a fit case, warranting the reduction of sentence. The submission of the Counsel for the appellant, in this regard, is accepted.

11. In view of the above discussion, the judgment of conviction, being based on the correct appreciation of evidence, and law on the point, deserves to be upheld. The order of sentence is liable to be modified, by reducing the substantive sentence suitably.

12. For the reasons recorded above, the appeal is partly accepted. The judgment of conviction is maintained. The order of substantive sentence is modified, in the manner, that the appellant shall undergo R.I. For 5 months, instead of R.I. For 1 year, awarded to him, by the trial Court, whereas, the order of imposition of sentence of fine, and the sentence imposed in default of payment of fine, shall remain intact. The Chief Judicial Magistrate, Mansa, shall comply with the judgment forthwith, in accordance with the provisions of law, keeping in view the applicability of the provisions of Section 428 Cr.P.C., and submit the compliance report, within a period of one month, from the date of receipt of the certified copy of the same.

Order accordingly.
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