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Judgement: Satvinder Singh V/s State of Bihar
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Judgement: Satvinder Singh V/s State of Bihar

Case No.: 951 of 2019

Date: 1/07/2019

Facts of the Case

This appeal has been filed with the Honorable Supreme Court pursuing the dismissal of the application made by the appellant to the High Court of Patna under section 432 of Criminal Procedure Code, 1973, regarding the order passed by the Judicial Magistrate of Nawad, Rajauli, which has taken the cognizance of the offence committed under section 53(a) of the Bihar Excise (Amendment) Act, 2016.

The respondents in the matter earlier, here the appellant was the member of the Rotary club, travelling from Girid, Jharkhand to Patna, Bihar to attend the meeting of the club (Rotary Club) that was supposed to be held on 25/06/2016. The traveller in a private vehicle was travelling to a destination where at Rajauli check post, District Nawada they were stopped for a routine checkup after the thorough search of the vehicle Sub-Inspector did not find any incriminating substance or any alcoholic beverage. Sub-inspector Excise Sachidanand Bharti further decided to check whether there is any person who has consumed the alcohol and the appellant was further subjected to breathe analyzer after which some percentage of alcohol was found. Soon after this report the appellants were arrested and detained for the period of two days.

First Information Report was lodged on 25/06/2016. The Chief Judicial Magistrate, Nawada took the cognizance of the offence passed the order dated 30/07/2016. The appellants in this case then filed the appeal against the order under section 432 of Criminal Procedure Code, 1973 with the High Court of Patna in plea to set aside the order were dismissed and were continued to bear the infliction of the order of Chief Judicial Magistrate.

Issues of the Case

1. Does a private vehicle is to be considered as a public place?

2. Whether the consumption of alcohol has been conducted in the state of Bihar or not?

3. Whether section 37(b) will be applicable or not?

Judgment

The Honorable Supreme Court after hearing both the sides has envisaged its observation that the question regarding whether it is appropriate to interpret a private vehicle as a public place, then yes the private vehicle though by right is not a public place but any place to which public has access, can approach and has to right to use and enter is a public place and any private vehicle on road is easily approachable though not by right but because of the use of the road so in the context any interpretation informing the meaning in such a narrow form will leave the purpose unserved or meaningless to the extent.

The court also in its observation states that any person consuming liquor or any alcoholic beverages within the state of Bihar will be held punishable for the offence under section 53(a) of the Bihar Prohibition and Excise Act, 2016. Hence it will be appropriate for the Chief Judicial Magistrate to decide whether such offence has been committed on the land of State of Bihar or not will be decided on the basis of the facts and other reports present by the authorities in this behalf. Also under section 37(b) a new offence can be contemplated that any person if found in a state of drunkenness or enter the territory of the state have consumed alcohol will be in violation of the law, but no such offence has been given in Bihar Prohibition and Excise Act, 2016 so as of now the activity of consuming the liquor has to happen in the State of Bihar which however cannot be traced by this court.

Also observing the material facts and deficiencies that have arose remained unanswered so the court sees no objection valid in allowing the person to file for an application to discharge the matter, if at any stage such matter will not be discharged such dismissal should be reasoned by the Chief Judicial Magistrate after analyzing thoroughly all the facts and reports, further the Court decides to administer justice it will be right if the cases are handed over to the Chief Judicial Magistrate, Nawad.

The Honorable Supreme Court decides to discharge and dispose of the appeal by reverting matter to the Chief Judicial Magistrate for reconsidering the facts and also states that the appellant is at liberty to make an application for discharge.

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