A Gandhinagar sessions court in an order dated November 24, granted relief to a 48-year-old man who was sentenced to six months of rigorous imprisonment in 2018 by a magisterial court for consuming alcohol, punishable under the Gujarat Prohibition Act.
Amit Maheta, a resident of Mansa taluka, was found drunk at Alkapuri Society in Gandhinagar in 2015. A complaint was filed and in 2018, a magisterial court in Mansa sentenced the man to six months of rigorous imprisonment, deeming him guilty for an offence punishable under Section 66 (1) (b) of the Gujarat Prohibition Act. The conviction and sentence were challenged before the Gandhinagar sessions court.
During the course of the appeal before the principal sessions judge, Nipa Raval, it was taken into account that a medical test had shown the presence of 0.0605-gram percent (weight by volume) of ethyl alcohol in the blood, and if the percentage of alcohol exceeds 0.05 gram, it is considered an offence under the Prohibition Act. Upholding the conviction by the magisterial court as valid in light of the evidence produced before the court, the sessions judge, however, held that “looking at the age of the accused and status of health and other criteria for convicting him, this court has to see that penology is properly looked into while convicting the accused.”
Noting that the accused has no criminal antecedents, the Gandhinagar sessions court observed that six months of rigorous imprisonment “is quite high” and instead directed that 15 days of rigorous imprisonment would be reasonable sentencing.
“Looking at the facts and circumstances of the case and the status of the accused, 15 days of rigorous imprisonment is found to be reasonable and just to penalize the accused for consuming alcohol…” the sessions judge declared while reducing the sentence.
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