Report No. 60
14.6. Provision in the Code of Criminal Procedure.-
The Constitution, Article 20(2)1, does not, in terms, mention a previous acquittal but the Code of Criminal Procedure does2, and the Code goes on to explain in detail the full implications of the expression 'same offence'. Six illustrations form part of this section, explaining, in concrete form, the different situations which the Courts may have to deal with.
1. Para. 14.2, supra.
2. Section 300, Code of Criminal Procedure, 1974 (and corresponding provision in the 1898 Code-section 403).
14.6A. Three ambiguities in section 26.-
Going back to section 26, we may note that the section presents a number of ambiguities. Is it, for example, permissible to prosecute a person under all the enactments-that is to say-to frame a charge for each of the offences? It is usually understood that the charge can be framed for each of the offences,-subject to the provision regarding maximum punishment. However ambiguity in this regard is caused by the words "either or any in the earlier part of the section1.
The second ambiguity-though a slight one-arises as to whether the limit regarding punishment applies at the same prosecution, or whether it applies to successive prosecutions, or whether it applies to both. The word 'twice' is ambiguous whether multiple punishment is possible. Ambiguity in this regard is created by the phrase "furnished twice". In one of the Andhra Pradesh cases-Bapaniah (in re:), AIR 1970 AP 47 (55), para. 18 (Venkateswara Rao J.). decided under the section, it has been stated:
"It is left to the prosecutor or the authority concerned to choose under which enactment or enactments an offender shall be prosecuted when the act or, omission alleged against him constitutes an offence under two or more enactments. But in the event of the prosecution being launched under two or more enactments, the punishment should be under one alone of those enactments." The point was also adverted to in a judgment of the Supreme Court-Baliah v. Rangachari, AIR 1969 AC 701, para. 14.15, infra. A consideration of the section in some detail would, therefore, be useful with reference to the problems that have arisen.
1. The section is quoted in para. 14.1, supra.