Judgment: Dr. Arijit Pasayat, J
1. Challenge in this appeal is to
the order passed by a learned Single Judge of the Delhi High Court
dismissing the Criminal Revision petition filed by the appellant. The
learned Metropolitan Magistrate, New Delhi had found the
accused-appellant guilty of offences punishable under Section 7(1) read
with Section 16 of the Prevention of Food Adulteration Act, 1954 (in
short 'the Act'). He had sentenced him to undergo imprisonment for six
months and to pay a fine of Rs.2,000/- with default stipulations. An
appeal was carried and the learned Additional Sessions Judge, New Delhi,
in Criminal Appeal No.61 of 1999, dismissed the same holding that the
offence was made out. As noted above, a revision petition was filed
before the High Court which was dismissed summarily.
Background facts in a nutshell
are as follows:
On 27.11.1984, the Food Inspector purchased a sample of Khoya from the
appellant. The Public Analyst found that the milk fat of the finished
product was 19.07% as against the minimum prescribed standard of 20%.
The appellant exercised his right under Section 13(2) of the Act. The
appellant faced trial. As noted above, the Metropolitan Magistrate
convicted the appellant and sentenced him. The appeal filed before the
learned Additional Sessions Judge, New Delhi, was dismissed. A stand was
taken before the learned Additional Sessions Judge that in view of
several decisions of this Court, there should be commutation of
sentence. The learned Additional Sessions Judge held that the
commutation of sentence under Section 433 of the Code of Criminal
Procedure, 1973 (in short the 'Cr.P.C.) was a matter within the
discretion of State Government. The appellant filed criminal revision
which was dismissed, as noted above.
3. Learned counsel for the appellant
submitted that the High Court, by a non-reasoned order, dismissed the
revision petition, though in similar cases it had passed orders
following the decision of this Court in N.
Sukumaran Nair v. Food Inspector, Mavehkara (1997 (9) SCC 101).
Learned counsel for the respondent submitted that the exercise of power
under Section 433 Cr.P.C. is discretionary and no direction can be given
to commute the sentence.
4. Learned counsel for the appellant
made a plea for affording the benefit as given by this Court in
N. Sukumaran Nair's case (supra) and
Santosh Kumar v. Municipal Corporation and Anr.
(2000 (9) SCC 151). The plea is made on the ground that the occurrence
took place in 1984 and the margin of variation is very small.
5. It is pointed out that the
appellant has already suffered custody for more than three months. We
direct that a sum of Rs.7,500/-, as fine, be deposited within a period
of six weeks from today. The appellant shall move the appropriate
Government for commutation of the custodial sentence. On the deposit of
the above amount being made within the stipulated time and the
appropriate application being made the State Government may consider
whether commutation can be done in view of the peculiar facts of the
case by passing an appropriate order under Clause (d) of Section 433 of
the Cr.P.C. In the meantime, the appellant shall remain on bail.
6. With this end result, the appeal
stands disposed of.
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