Report No. 60
14.9. Separate sub-sections desirable.-
At this stage, we may state that in order to make the provision in section 26 more clear, it is desirable to deal in separate sub-sections with the general rule and the rule applicable to a special situation. The general principle should be that where an act or omission is made punishable under two or more enactments, the offender shall be liable to be punished under any one, but not under more than one, of those enactments1, if the ingredients are identical.
As regards the special situation, namely, where the same act or omission constituting an offence under any other enactment or enactments, in conjunction with any ingredient or ingredients the rule should be that prosecution and punishment for each of such offences is permissible, but the aggregate of the punishments is not to exceed the punishment awardable for the most serious of the offences. In practice, most cases would fall under the special situation, and the object of making the position clear as regards this special situation is that if cumulative punishments were allowed without any limitation as to the quantum in the aggregate, there will be hardship and oppression.
The matter could be illustrated from a few decided cases.
1. This does not rule out separate heads of charges, for clarity.