Case Name : State of Maharashtra Vs. Mohd. Yakub and Others
Author : Shraddha Jindal
1980 AIR 1111 1980 SCR (2)1158 1980 SCC (3) 57
Justice R. S. Sarkaria
Justice Ranjit Singh prepration
Justice Chinnappa Reddy
In the present case of ” state of Maharashtra vs. Mohammed Yakub and others” a clear distinction between attempt and preparation was made.
Preparation and attempt are two stages of a crime, is not punishable but attempt is punishable. Preparation is the stage where the situation remains in the hands of the offender but when the preparation stage is completed the attempt stage is starts and the situation becomes beyond offender’s control.
Section 3 of Evidence act make on difference between oral and written evidences and between circumstantial and other evidences.
Section 135(a) of Customs Act provides that “If a person makes preparation to export any goods in contravention of the provisions of the Act, and where such preparation crosses the line of culpability, he shall be punishable with imprisonment for a term which may extend to three years, or with fine, or with both”.
The customs department received some secret information from their sources that silver will be transported in a jeep (jeep no. – MRC 9930) and in a truck (truck no. – BMS 796) from Mumbai to a lonely coastal area which lies near Bassein. After receiving this information, Shri Wagh (superintendent of Central Excise) and Dharap (Inspector) along with some staff members went to keep watch in two vehicles at Shirsat Naka, national highway no. 8, Mumbai on the night of 14th September 1968. In the Midnight they saw a jeep which was being followed by a truck coming from Mumbai. The Jeep and the truck both were going towards Bassein. The customs department followed them. After travelling some distance the Jeep and the truck left the road to Bassein and went on the road that was leading to a creek village Kaman. The Jeep and the truck stopped near a bridge at Kaman and they started removing some bundles and packets from the truck and placing them on the floor of the ground. Customs department went there and caught them (jeep driver who was the owner of the jeep, truck driver and truck cleaner). Officers found four silver ingots near a footpath. They heard the sound of the engine of a mechanized vessel. They questioned the Jeep owner in the presence of the residents of Bassein but he falsely gave his name as Mohammed Yusuf and they also found that person in the possession of a pistol, knife and some cash. They found almost 39 silver ingots concealed in a shawl and dust bags.
Issues and facts of Law:
The customs department reported this matter to the police station of Bassein. On 15th September 1968 the accused persons along with the vehicles and silver ingots were taken to Mumbai. Shri Wagh (superintendent of Central Excise) recorded the statements of the accused under section 108 of the Customs act. The collector of Central Excise confiscated the the Silver ingots. A complaint was registered in the court of Judicial Magistrate of Bassein against all three accused by the assistant collector of Central Excise. The accused denied their responsibility and pleaded that they did not know about the silver ingots and they are just employees to take Jeep and truck from one place to another. But after proving their offences the trial magistrate held them liable.
the accused made three appeals in the additional sessions court, Thana where the judge acquitted them by saying that the fact fell short for establishing their crime of ‘attempting’ to export silver because it was mere ‘preparation’. It would have been considered an attempt only if they had placed the silver in the boat for exportation. state of Maharashtra made an appeal against the acquittal of the accused in the High Court and the High Court dismissed the appeal because the facts which were proved by the prosecution did not have any probative value.
The question was that weather from the facts and circumstances it could be inferred beyond reasonable doubt that the the accused had attempted to export the Silver against the law in India. The state of Maharashtra made another appeal in Supreme Court.
Supreme Court held that High Court was in error in holding the judgement of trial court and session’s court. Section 3 of Evidence Act does not make any difference between circumstantial and other evidences and if from the circumstances a prudent man can suppose that the accused were attempting to export silver. By applying this action in this case Supreme Court concluded that the the intention of the accused was clear to export silver from the circumstances that is why they were concealing the silver and they stopped near coastal area from where some sound of engine could be heard.
Supreme Court held that High Court was in error in holding the judgement. Supreme Court allowed the appeal and set aside the acquittal. Supreme Court convicted them all under section 135 (a) of customs act, 1962 read with Section 5 of Imports and Exports (Control) Act 1947.