2001 ALL MR (Cri) 1283
IN THE HIGH COURT OF JUDICATURE AT BOMBAY
P.D. UPASANI, J.
Shri. Gulab Karim Shaikh Vs. State Of Maharashtra.
Criminal Writ Petition No. 118 of 1995
28th July, 2000
Petitioner Counsel: Mr. A.P. MUNDARGI
Respondent Counsel: Ms. POORNIMA KANTHARIA
Criminal P.C. (1973), S.482 - Plea bargaining - Accused charged under S.185 of M.V.Act for driving a bus under influence of alcohol - Accused allowed to admit the charge and was not told that he is was entitled to legal aid and entitled to be defended at the expense of the State - Held this was not permissible and case remanded for proceeding in accordance with law. (Para 4)
Kasambhai Abdulrehmanbhai Sheikh v. State of Gujarat, (1980) 3 ssc 120 [Para 3]
JUDGMENT :- The Petitioner has approached this Court under Section 482 of the Code of Criminal Procedure 1973 and Articles 21 and 227 of the Constitution of India, being aggrieved by the order of conviction and sentence dated 9th January, 1995, passed by the Metropolitan Magistrate, 13th Court, Dadar, Bombay. By the impugned order, the learned Magistrate convicted the accused under Section 185 of the Motor Vehicles Act, and sentenced him to pay a fine of Rs.750/-, in default, to suffer simple imprisonment for two weeks.
2. Heard Mr. Mundargi for the Petitioner. Also perused the proceedings. It appears that the accused pleaded guilty of the charge, when his plea was recorded. He was arrested on the previous day i.e. on 8th January, 1995 at 6.45 p.m. near Wadala Station Road, as he was driving B.E.S.T. Bus No. MRR/1894, allegedly after consuming alcohol. He was examined in J.J.Hospital. Doctor opined that accused had consumed alcohol and was under the influence of alcohol when he was driving the said bus. He was kept in custody for one day and was produced before the Metropolitan Magistrate, 13th Court, Dadar, Bombay. Chargesheet was filed on the same day. When he was produced before the learned Magistrate, he was asked whether he was pleading guilty to the charge, and he pleaded guilty to the same. Accordingly, his plea of guilt was recorded and the learned Magistrate accepted the said plea and convicted him under Section 185 of the Motor Vehicles Act and sentenced him to pay a fine of Rs. 750/-, in default, to suffer simple imprisonment for two weeks. However, after approaching this Court, the Petitioner obtained stay of the order at the time of admission of this Writ Petition.
3. Mr. Mundargi, appearing for the Petitioner has submitted that when he pleaded guilty to the charge, he was shown allurement by the police constable on duty that he would be let off with a light sentence if he pleaded guilty, and therefore, when he was produced before the Magistrate, he pleaded guilty. Mr. Mundargi also relied upon (1980) 3 SSC 120 Kasambhai Abdulrehmanbhai Sheikh v. State of Gujarat, wherein, the Supreme Court has expressly condemned the practice of plea bargaining and recording the plea of guilty by the accused on showing them some allurement and thus, inducing them to confess to a plea of guilt. Mr. Mundargi therefore prays that the matter be remanded back to the learned Magistrate to proceed in accordance with law, as the plea recorded by the Magistrate is illegal and violates the spirit of the Constitution.
4. I have heard Mr.Mundargi for the Petitioner and Ms.Kantharia, the learned A.P.P.for Respondent. I have also gone through the said authority, on which Mr.Mundargi has relied. I have also perused the proceedings. It appears that there is nothing on record to show that the medical certificate which was accepted by the accused was in fact filed along with the chargesheet. It also appears that the accused was not made aware of the fact that he was entitled to a legal aid and entitled to be defended at the expense of the State. No such question appears to have been asked to the accused. Therefore there is indication to draw inference that what the Petitioner has averred is true, and that, some allurement was shown to him to record the plea of guilt. This is not permissible. Hence, considering the peculiar facts and circumstances of this case, the matter will have to be remanded back to the lower Court. Hence, the following order :
Criminal Writ Petition No. 118 of 1995 is allowed. The Judgment and Order dated 9th January, 1995 is hereby quashed and set-aside. Ad-interim order stands vacated.
Matter is remanded back to the Lower Court. Petitioner to appear before the Lower Court on 24th August, 2000. The learned Magistrate to proceed in accordance with law.
Writ to go down immediately.