Calcutta High Court: Moushumi Bhattacharya, J. allowed an appeal which was filed assailing the impugned judgment passed under section 7 (1) (a) (ii), of the Essential Commodities Act, 1955 and paragraph 12 of the West Bengal Kerosene Control Order, 1968. The appellant was convicted under the aforesaid provisions with fine and simple imprisonment.

The case of the prosecution was that the defacto complainant conducted a raid at the shop cum godown of the appellant on 22-04-1986. The shop cum- purchase register revealed that on 22-04-1986 the opening balance of kerosene oil was 3570 litres but upon measurement 3025 litres of kerosene oil was found to be present in the appellant’s shop cum godown. Hence there was a deficit on 545 litres of kerosene oil. Case was registered and during the trial, six witnesses were examined by the prosecution while no witnesses were produced by the defendants.

The Court after hearing both the parties and perusing the documents and evidence found that impugned judgment does not taken into account factual deficiencies in the case made out by the prosecution as stated above. The evidence of the independent seizure witnesses, who turned hostile was a significant fact which should have been considered by the Trial Court. The evidence of these witnesses with regard to the appellant having a separate godown was a vital fact which was not considered either by the prosecution or the Trial Court. The stock board also did not have any signature of the person who prepared the stock board; this fact was also not taken into account.

The Court held that the conviction and sentence of the appellant was not justified and consequently set it aside while allowing the appeal.[Aniruddha Prasad Singh v. State of West Bengal, 2022 SCC OnLine Cal 1215, decided on 13-05-2022]

Amicus Curiae : Ms Puja Goswami

Suchita Shukla, Editorial Assistant has reported this brief.

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