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No Person Can Be Charged Under Legal Metrology Act For Offences Relating To Weight Or Measure Falling Under Chapter XIII Of IPC: SC [Read Judgment]

No Person Can Be Charged Under Legal Metrology Act For Offences Relating To Weight Or Measure Falling Under Chapter XIII Of IPC: SC [Read Judgment]
The Supreme Court on September 4, 2019, in the case of State of Uttar Pradesh v. Aman Mittal & Anr., has held that Section 3 of the Legal Metrology Act, 2009, completely overrides the provisions of Chapter XIII of the Indian Penal Code, 1860, in respect of offences and penalties with regard to weight or measure.

The Bench comprising of Justice L. Nageswara Rao and Justice Hemant Gupta, however, clarified that the prosecution for other offences under of Indian Penal Code, 1860, could be maintained since the trial of such offences is not inconsistent with any of the provisions of the Legal Metrology Act, 2009.

The issue for consideration before the Bench was whether all the offences under the Indian Penal Code, 1860, are excluded in view of Section 3 of the Legal Metrology Act, 2009, or only the offences relating to the weights and measures as are contained in Chapter XIII of the Indian Penal Code, 1860, alone stand excluded in view of Section 51 of the Legal Metrology Act, 2009.

The Bench observed that the provisions of the Indian Penal Code, 1860, which relate to offences with regard to weight and measure as contained in Chapter XIII alone will not apply.

It said: "We find that Section 3 of the Act completely overrides the provisions of Chapter XIII of IPC in respect of the offences and penalties imposable for violations of the provisions of the Act, it being special Act. Therefore, if the offence is disclosed to be made out under the provisions of the Act, an accused cannot be charged for the same offence under Chapter XIII of IPC. Reading of Section 51 of the Act makes it clear that the provisions of IPC insofar as they relate to offences with regard to weight or measure, shall not apply to any offence which is punishable under the Act. Therefore, the provisions of IPC which relate to offences with regard to weight and measure as contained in Chapter XIII of IPC alone will not apply. No person can be charged for an offence relating to weight or measure falling under Chapter XIII of IPC in view of the provisions of the Act."

Regarding the prosecution for other offences, the court observed that “The scheme of the Act is for the offences for use of weights and measures which are non-standard and for tampering with or altering any standards, secondary standards or working standards of any weight or measure. The Act does not foresee any offence relating to cheating as defined in Section 415 of IPC or the offences under Sections 467, 468 and 471 of IPC. Similarly, an act performed in furtherance of a common intention disclosing an offence under Section 34 is not covered by the provisions of the Act. An offence disclosing a criminal conspiracy to commit an offence which is punishable under Section 120-B IPC is also not an offence under the Act. Since such offences are not punishable under the provisions of the Act, therefore, the prosecution for such offences could be maintained since the trial of such offences is not inconsistent with any of the provisions of the Act. Similar is the provision in respect of the offences under Sections 467, 468, 471 IPC as such offences are not covered by the provisions of the Act.”

[Read Judgment]


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