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Sunday, March 20, 2016

mitigating factor = the High Court interfered and reduced the period of imprisonment after noticing that the appellant has no criminal antecedents. Considering the said mitigating factor and also the fact that occurrence in question is of the year 2000 and the appellant has suffered agony of criminal trial and pendency of appeal for more than 15 years, in the facts of the case we are persuaded to further reduce the period of imprisonment from three years to rigorous imprisonment for two years. The amount of fine determined by the High Court as Rs.1 lac along with default clause is however left intact. With the aforesaid modification in sentence of imprisonment, the appeal is disposed of.

                                                              NON-REPORTABLE

                        IN THE SUPREME COURT OF INDIA

                       CRIMINAL APPELLATE JURISDICTION

                  CRIMINAL APPEAL NO.    234        OF 2016
                [Arising out of S.L.P.(Crl.)No.1522 of 2016]

Paul Kuriakose                                           …..Appellant

      Versus

The Excise Inspector & Anr.                         …..Respondents

                               J U D G M E N T

SHIVA KIRTI SINGH, J.

Heard the parties.  Leave granted.
This appeal is directed against final judgment and  order  dated  25.11.2015
whereby the High Court of Kerala at Ernakulam has dismissed Criminal  Appeal
No.34/2006 preferred by the appellant by confirming his conviction  for  the
offence under Section 55(a) of the Abkari  Act.   However,  the  High  Court
granted a limited relief by reducing the sentence of  rigorous  imprisonment
for a period of five years to that for a period of three years and  also  by
reducing the amount of fine of Rs.5 lacs to Rs.1 lac with a  default  clause
of six months’ simple imprisonment.
Having heard the learned counsel for the rival parties  and  on  perusal  of
relevant materials on record including the judgment under  appeal,  we  find
that the High Court was correct in affirming the  conviction  because  right
from the initial stage when the car of the appellant  was  searched  leading
to recovery of 450 litres of spirit which on analysis was found to be  80.70
per cent by volume of Ethyl Alcohol, the  prosecution  has  proved  all  the
necessary ingredients of  the  offence  in  question  by  adducing  reliable
evidence.
Hence we also find no good ground to interfere with appellant’s conviction.
So far as the challenge to sentence is concerned, the High Court  interfered
and reduced the period of imprisonment after  noticing  that  the  appellant
has no criminal antecedents.  Considering the  said  mitigating  factor  and
also the fact that occurrence in question  is  of  the  year  2000  and  the
appellant has suffered agony of criminal trial and pendency  of  appeal  for
more than 15 years, in the facts of the case we  are  persuaded  to  further
reduce the period of imprisonment from three years to rigorous  imprisonment
for two years.  The amount of fine determined by the High Court as Rs.1  lac
along with default clause is however left intact.
With the aforesaid modification in sentence of imprisonment, the  appeal  is
disposed of.
                       .…………………………………….J.
                             [DIPAK MISRA]


                       ……………………………………..J.
                       [SHIVA KIRTI SINGH]
New Delhi.
March 18, 2016.
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