Mandatory To Impose Fine Of Not Less Than Rs 1 Lakh For Offence U/s 55 (1) of Kerala Abkari Act: SC [Read Judgment]

Mandatory To Impose Fine Of Not Less Than Rs 1 Lakh For Offence U/s 55 (1) of Kerala Abkari Act: SC [Read Judgment]

The Court has discretion to impose fine more than Rs. one lakh depending upon the facts of each case.’

The Supreme Court has held that it is mandatory to impose a fine of not less than Rs 1 lakh on a person convicted under Section 55 (1) of the Kerala Abkari Act.

The bench comprising Justice Abhay Manohar Sapre and Justice Indu Malhotra was considering an appeal filed by Santosh Kumar against conviction under Section 55 (a) of the Abkari Act. The high court had modified the sentence awarded by the trial court by reducing jail sentence from 5 years to 3 years and maintained the imposition of fine amount of Rs 1 lakh.

The bench was examining only the question relating to quantum of sentence awarded to the accused.

Referring to the provisions of the Act, the bench said: “From a mere reading of Section 55 (1), it is clear that insofar as the jail sentence is concerned, it may vary and extend up to 10 years depending upon the facts of each case, but insofar as the fine amount is concerned, the Court has to impose the minimum amount of Rs. one lakh. It is, therefore, mandatory for the Court to impose a fine while awarding jail sentence and secondly, it cannot be less than Rs. one lakh. However, the Court has discretion to impose fine more than Rs. one lakh depending upon the facts of each case.”

The bench then modified the sentence and awarded jail sentence of "already undergone" and a fine of Rs 1,50,000.

Read the Judgment Here