Palakdhari Singh & Ors Vs. The
State of Uttar Pradesh & ANR  INSC 15 (19 January 1962)
19/01/1962 KAPUR, J.L.
CITATION: 1962 AIR 1145 1962 SCR Supl. (2)
D 1979 SC1263 (5)
Limitation-Panchayati Adalat-Fine imposed on
conviction-Recovery after expiry of six years-If barred-U.P. Panchayat Raj Act,
1947. (U.P. XXVI of 1947) ss. 54, 83, 94-Indian Penal Code, 1860 (XLV of 1960)
The appellant was convicted by the Panchayati
Adalat for theft and sentenced to pay a fine of Rs. 75/- in 1950. The
conviction and sentence was confirmed in 1953 by the High Court in revision.
In 1958 proceedings were taken to recover the
fine. The appellant contended that the recovery was barred by s. 70 The Indian
Penal Code. The respondent contended that s. 70 was not applicable to
convictions by Panchayati Adalats and that the limitation started from the date
of the order of the High Court.
Held, that s. 70 Indian Penal Code was
applicable to convictions by the Panchayati Adalats and that the recovery of
the fine after the expiry of six years from the date of conviction was barred.
There was no provision in the U. P. Panchayat Raj Act prescribing any period of
limitation or providing for the non- applicability of s. 70 of the Code to
sentences of fine imposed by the Panchayati Adalats. The limitation started
from the date of the "passing of the sentence" and the filing of
appeal or revision did not, unless specifically ordered, arrest the operation of
the order imposing the sentence.
CRIMINAL APPELLATE JURISDICTION: Criminal
Appeal No. 5 of 1960.
Appeal by special leave from the judgment and
order dated September, 7 1959, of the Allahabad High Court in Criminal
Reference No. 470 of 1958.
K.P. Gupta, for the appellants.
G. C. Mathur and C. P. Lal, for the
respondent No. 1, 1962, January 19. The Judgment of the Court was delivered by
KAPUR, J.-This appeal raises the question of the applicability of s. 70 of the
Indian Penal Code to fines imposed in convictions for offences under the Indian
Penal Code but tried by Tribunals called the Panchayati Adalats, now known as
The appellants were convicted by a Panchayati
Adalat on February 5, 1950, for an offence under s. 379 of the Indian Penal
Code and were sentenced to a fine of Rs. 751/- each. A revision against that
order was taken to the High Court which was dismissed on May 13, 1953. In
January 1958, proceedings were taken for the recovery of the fine imposed
against the appellants by the Panchayati Adalat. In a revision against that
order an objection was raised that the fine was not recoverable as it was
barred by s. 70 of the Indian 652 Penal Code. The learned Sub-Divisional
Magistrate by his order dated February 6, 1958, held the recovery of the fine
to be barred under that section. But a revision was taken to the District
Magistrate who recommended the setting aside of the order of the sub-Divisional
Magistrate on the ground that there was no period of limitation. The High Court
by its order dated September 7, 1959 accepted the recommendation of the
District Magistrate and held that there is no limit to the time within which
the fines imposed by a Panchayati Adalat can be realised. It is against this
order that the appellants have brought this appeal by special leave.
The conviction of the appellants was under s.
379 of the Indian Penal Code and if they had been tried and convicted by a
Magistrate acting under the Criminal Procedure Code, the recovery of the fine
would have been barred under s. 70, Indian Penal Code. But it is submitted that
if the conviction is by a Panchayati Adalat, the ban on the recovery of the
fine after the expiry of six years limitation is no longer applicable.
It is necessary to refer to the relevant
provisions of the U.P. Panchayat Raj Act (Act XXVI of 1947), hereinafter called
the `Act', as applicable to the facts of this case. Under s. 52 of the Act,
certain offences are cognizable by the Panchayati Adalats and the offence under
s. 379 of the Indian Penal Code is one of them. Section 54 empowers these
Panchayati Adalats to impose penalties and it is provided that they have no
power to inflict substantive sentences of imprisonment or imprisonment in
default of payment of fine. Under s.83, provisions of the Indian Evidence Act,
Code of Criminal Procedure and the Limitation Act, are made inapplicable
excepting to the extent that the Act makes them applicable.
Section 94 provides for recovery of fine and
it runs as follows :
653 "any fine imposed, or compensation
ordered to be paid in s. 61 by a Nyaya Panchayat shall be recoverable in the
manner prescribed. But if the Nyaya Panchayat finds and difficulty in its
recovery, it may request the Sub-Divisional Magistrate within whose
jurisdiction the Nyaya Panchayat lies to recover it and he shall recover it as
if the sentence of fine had been passed by him." Rule 82 of the U.P.
Panchayat Raj Rules deals with the limitation for writing off of fines and
jurisdiction of the Panchayati Adalats. It provides as to how fines which are
not recoverable can be written off, but there is no provision in this rule as
to the period of limitation.
Therefore as far as the Act is concerned,
there is no provision prescribing a period of limitation or providing for the
non-applicability of s. 70 of the Indian Penal Code to sentences of fine passed
by the Panchayati Adalats. As a matter of facts.
94 of the Act provides that if there is
difficulty in the recovery of a fine, the Sub-Divisional Magistrate shall
recover it as if it was a fine imposed by himself, which supports the
contention of the appellants that the period of limitation as provided in s. 70
of the Indian Penal Code is not made inapplicable to convictions by Panchayati
Adalats. In our opinion the District Magistrate as well as the High Court were
in error in holding that the period of limitation provided by s. 70 of the
Indian Penal Code is inapplicable to the recovery of fines imposed by
It was next argued that the final order which
is the terminus & quo under s. 70 of the Indian Penal Code is the orders of
the High Court passed in revision on May 13, 1953 and from that date the proceedings for recovery are within time. But the language of s. 70 prescribes the
terminus & quo to be the date of "passing of the sentence" by
Court which passes such order and the filing of appeal or 654 revision does
not, unless specifically ordered, arrest the operation of the order of passing
of the sentence of conviction. In the present case the limitation started from
the date of conviction by the Panchayati Adalat and not from the date of
dismissal of Revision by the High Court.
We therefore allow this appeal, set aside the
order of the High Court and restore that of the learned Sub-Divisional
Magistrate dated February 6, 1958.