w w w . L a w y e r S e r v i c e s . i n



Abdul Salam v/s National Investigating Agency, Kochi, Represented by its Special Public Prosecutor, High Court of Kerala, Ernakulam


Company & Directors' Information:- U T AGENCY PVT. LTD. [Active] CIN = U45203WB1991PTC052617

Company & Directors' Information:- S K H AGENCY PRIVATE LIMITED [Active] CIN = U52390TG2013PTC085384

Company & Directors' Information:- O M AGENCY PRIVATE LIMITED [Active] CIN = U52321TN1961PTC004668

Company & Directors' Information:- S M AGENCY PVT LTD [Active] CIN = U51109WB1964PTC026129

Company & Directors' Information:- G R AGENCY LTD [Strike Off] CIN = U51109WB1951PLC019409

Company & Directors' Information:- S N Q S AGENCY PRIVATE LIMITED [Active] CIN = U52110TZ1999PTC008761

Company & Directors' Information:- A & N AGENCY PRIVATE LIMITED [Under Process of Striking Off] CIN = U51909TN2003PTC052088

Company & Directors' Information:- A E AGENCY PRIVATE LIMITED [Active] CIN = U65993TN2000PTC044931

Company & Directors' Information:- S R W AGENCY PRIVATE LIMITED [Active] CIN = U52190WB2011PTC160006

Company & Directors' Information:- K L AGENCY PRIVATE LIMITED [Strike Off] CIN = U74899DL1992PTC050493

Company & Directors' Information:- S B T AGENCY PVT LTD [Strike Off] CIN = U51103WB1965PTC026347

Company & Directors' Information:- S B M AGENCY PRIVATE LIMITED [Active] CIN = U51504TN2004PTC052953

Company & Directors' Information:- M P S AGENCY PVT LTD [Active] CIN = U51109WB1998PTC088149

Company & Directors' Information:- A. G. AGENCY PRIVATE LIMITED [Strike Off] CIN = U51109DL2008PTC186212

Company & Directors' Information:- S N AGENCY PVT LTD [Strike Off] CIN = U66010WB1989PTC047981

Company & Directors' Information:- V AND S AGENCY PRIVATE LTD. [Strike Off] CIN = U74999DL1986PTC025148

    Crl.A. No. 460 of 2017

    Decided On, 13 April 2018

    At, High Court of Kerala

    By, THE HONOURABLE MR. JUSTICE A.M. SHAFFIQUE
    By, THE HONOURABLE MR. JUSTICE P. UBAID & THE HONOURABLE MR. JUSTICE P. SOMARAJAN

    For the Appellant: Vipin Narayan, Vishnu Babu, V.S. Abhishek, C. Jayakiran, Advocates. For the Respondent: M. Ajay, Spl. P.P, Sr.Public Prosecutor Bjayasurya.



Judgment Text

P. Ubaid, J. (for himself and for A.M.Shaffique, J.)

1. We are on a question of law referred by a Division Bench of this Court by the reference order dated 23.6.2017, as to whether production or smuggling or import or circulation of 'high quality counterfeit Indian paper currency' in India, prior to the coming into force of the Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Amendment Act 2012 (Act No.3 of 2013) is punishable as a terrorist act under Section 16 of the Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Act (for short U.A.(P) Act). While hearing the above appeal, the Division Bench felt the necessity of reconsideration of the decision of another Division Bench of this Court in Shareef v. State (2013 (4) KLT 60). Accordingly, the question of law was referred to a Full Bench. In Shareef's case, the Division Bench held that import or smuggling or production or circulation of 'high quality counterfeit Indian paper currency' even prior to the coming into force of the Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Amendment Act of 2012 is a terrorist act under the un-amended Section 15 of the U.A.(P) Act, as it stood prior to 1.2.2013. The Act No.3 of 2013, amending the provisions of the U.A.(P) Act came into force on 1.2.2013. Incidentally, the case also involves another constitutional issue as to whether such a prosecution under the amended provisions of Section 15 of the U.A.(P) Act, on the allegation of import or circulation of high quality counterfeit Indian paper currency prior to 1.2.2013, would offend Article 20(1) of the Constitution of India.

2. The appellant herein is the 3rd accused in S.C 4/2015 of the Special Court for NIA Cases, Ernakulam. This is a case involving huge quantity of high quality counterfeit Indian paper currency brought to India from U.A.E. The 1st accused was arrested at the Nedumbassery International Airport on 26.1.2013 by the customs officials, and a huge quantity of 'high quality counterfeit Indian paper currency' was seized from his possession. The customs officials detected that it was printed in Pakistan. On the report of the customs officials, a crime was registered at the Nedumbassery Police Station as Crime No.122/2013, and investigation was later transferred to the State Crime Branch, CID Wing. During investigation, the Crime Branch detected the role and involvement of some other persons in the deal, including the appellant herein. Accordingly some other accused including the appellant were also arraigned in the crime. Later, as ordered by the Ministry of Home Affairs, Government of India, investigation was transferred to the National Investigating Agency (NIA). When examined at the laboratory of the Security Printing and Minting Corporation of India Limited, Nasik, the counterfeit Indian paper currency were proved to be 'high quality counterfeit Indian currency notes'. The appellant was arrested as accused in the case on 23.12.2016 at the Indira Gandhi International Airport, New Delhi. During investigation, the accused Nos.1 and 2 gave definite statements revealing the complicity and involvement of the 3rd accused in the alleged import of currency to India. The statement given by the 6th accused under Section 164 Cr.P.C also revealed the complicity of the appellant. After investigation, the NIA submitted final report in court. The appellant herein filed an application before the trial court for regular bail as Crl.M.P. No.60/2017. After hearing both sides elaborately, the learned trial Judge dismissed the application by order dated 4.5.2017. Before the trial court, the appellant argued that he cannot be prosecuted under the U.A.(P) Act for the reason that the alleged import was made prior to the coming into force of the Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Amendment Act of 2012, which came into force only on 1.2.2013, and so at the best, a prosecution is possible only under the relevant provisions of the Indian Penal Code. The learned trial Judge found against the accused in view of the decision of this Court in Shareef's case. Aggrieved by the said order disallowing bail, the 3rd accused brought this appeal before this Court under Section 21(4) of the National Investigation Agency Act, 2008.

3. Before the Division Bench, the appellant projected a legal issue that on the given allegations in this case, a prosecution is possible only under the provisions of the Indian Penal Code, and that a prosecution under the amended provisions of the U.A.(P) Act would offend Article 20(1) of the Constitution of India. The appellant also argued before the Division Bench that the decision of this court in Shareef's case requires consideration, because import or smuggling or circulation of 'high quality Indian paper currency' was not punishable as a terrorist act under the un-amended provisions of the U.A.(P) Act as on 26.1.2013, the date on which such counterfeit Indian paper currency were seized from the possession of the 1st accused, on import to India.

4. The NIA brought final report in court under Sections 120B, 489B and 489C of the Indian Penal Code and also under Sections 16 and 18 of the U.A.(P)Act, 1967. The prosecution case in the final report is, that as part of a criminal design hatched by the accused in India and also abroad, the 1st accused imported huge quantity of 'high quality counterfeit Indian paper currency' printed in Pakistan, to India from U.A.E with the object of using or circulating the same in India as genuine Indian currency notes, and they did so with the object of destroying the economic stability and economic security of India, and thereby to threaten and damage the unity, integrity, security and sovereignty of the country. The prosecution would allege that in prosecution of the criminal design hatched by all the accused to import high quality counterfeit Indian paper currency to India, the 4th accused handed over a sum of Rs. 4 lakhs to the 6th accused, who was in the middle eastduring October 2012, the 6th accused in turn handed over the amount to the 5th accused and obtained high quality counterfeit Indian paper currency notes for Rs. 9.75 lakhs, the counterfeit currency notes were kept concealed at the residence of the 2nd accused in U.A.E, and for importing the currency notes to India, the 2nd accused along with the accused Nos.3 and 6, arranged the 1st accused, and accordingly, in prosecution of the criminal design hatched by them all, the 1st accused brought the huge quantity of fake currency to India on 26.1.2013. In transit, he was arrested by the customs officials at the Airport on 26.1.2013, and on the same day, a crime was registered against him. The other accused were later arraigned at the different stages of investigation when the Investigating Agency detected high conspiracy in the deal involving many persons.

5. The huge quantity of high quality counterfeit Indian paper currency were brought or imported to India on 26.1.2013 by the 1st accused, and the allegation as against the appellant is that he is also a party to the conspiracy hatched for importing such counterfeit currency to India. The NIA brought final report against the accused under the amended provisions of Section 15 of the U.A.(P)Act, on the allegation that the accused brought or imported such counterfeit currency notes with the object of damaging the monetary stability of India. Of course, if the U.A.(P) Act provisions are not applicable, the prosecution is possible only under the relevant Sections of the Indian Penal Code. The appellant's grievance is that when prosecution is possible only under such provisions of Indian Penal code, the NIA has wrongly and illegally brought final report under Sections 16 and 18 of the U.A.(P) Act. Production or smuggling or circulation of 'high quality counterfeit Indian paper currency' with the object of damaging the monetary stability of India is now specifically made punishable under the U.A.(P)Act, after the coming into force of the Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Amendment Act, 2012. The amended provisions of Section 15 of the U.A.(P) Act came into force only on 1.2.2013, whereas, the act of offence alleged in this case was committed by the accused on 26.1.2013. As on the said date, production or smuggling or circulation of high quality counterfeit Indian paper currency with the object of damaging the monetary stability of India was not specifically punishable as a terrorist act under the U.A(P)Act. So, the appellant would contend that such a prosecution against him under the amended provisions of the U.A.(P) Act which came into force only on 1.2.2013, would offend Article 20(1) of the Constitution of India. The NIA would contend that such a prosecution is possible on the allegation of a terrorist act, under Sections 16 and 18 of the U.A.(P) Act, even under the un-amended provisions of Section 15 of the U.A.(P) Act, in view of the position settled by this Court in Shareef's case.

6. It is the fundamental principle of criminal law, enshrined and guaranteed as a fundamental right under Article 20(1) of the Constitution of India that no person shall be convicted of any offence except for violation of a law in force at the time of the commission of the act charged as an offence, and that no person shall be subjected to a penalty greater than that which might have been inflicted under the law in force at the time of the commission of the offence. Long back, in 1953, the Hon'ble Supreme Court of India clarified and declared the spirit of Article 20(1) of the Constitution of India in Rao Shiv Bahadur Singh and another v. State of Vindhya Pradesh (AIR 1953 SC 394=1953 CRL.L.J 1480) that the 'Law in force' meant under Article 20(1) of the Constitution of India must be understood in its natural sense, and that the phrase 'law in force' used in Article 20 must be the law in fact in existence and in operation at the time of the commission of the offence. (from para 10 of the judgment). In Ravinder Singh v. State of Himachal Pradesh (AIR 2010 SC 199), the Hon'ble Supreme Court reiterated that conviction and sentence in criminal proceedings under ex post facto law is prohibited under Article 20(1) of the Constitution of India. As regards the spirit, object and application of Article 20(1) of the Constitution of India, much discussion is not required because, what is guaranteed under the Article is the fundamental principle of criminal law and criminal justice, that no person shall be convicted or punished for an act which is not punishable under the law as on the date of commission of the said act.

7. Of course, it is true that the constitutional provision under Article 20(1) of the Constitution of India was not considered by the Division Bench in Shareef's case. In fact, the Division Bench in the said case proceeded on the premise that even under the un-amended provisions of Section 15 of the U.A.(P) Act, import or smuggling of 'high quality counterfeit Indian paper currency' to India is punishable as an act of terrorism that would affect the 'economic security' of India, and that economic security is also covered by the term 'security of India' as meant and defined under Section 15 of the U.A.(P) Act, even prior to the amendment. So the Division Bench had no reason or occasion to consider the application of Article 20(1) of the Constitution of India in Shareef's case. Without probing into those aspects and without considering the constitutional provisions on the point, the Division Bench decided Shareef's case on a stretchy interpretation of the term security, to mean and include even economic security, and that import or smuggling of counterfeit Indian paper currency would amount to an act of terrorism damaging the security of India. The law applied by the NIA to prosecute the appellant and others under the U.A(P) Act is in fact an ex post facto law, that was not in force in the country as on the date on which the alleged offence was committed. Accordingly, we find that the appellant and others cannot be prosecuted on an allegation of terrorist act, as meant and defined under Section 15 of the U.A.(P) Act, amended by the U.A.(P) Amendment Act of 2012, because a penal law cannot have retrospective operation. This is the basic principle accepted universally, and this issue does not require any further discussion.

8. Now the crucial question is whether the final report in this case under the U.A.(P) Act is acceptable, in view of the decision of this Court in Shareef's case, or whether the said decision requires reconsideration, or whether the present prosecution against the appellant and others under the U.A.(P) Act is sustainable under Sections 16 and 18 of the U.A.(P) Act, as it stood prior to 1.2.2013.

9. In Shareef's case, the Division Bench decided the legal issue on the premise that the finance of the country is covered by the definition of property under Section 2(h) of the U.A (P) Act and that import or circulation or smuggling of 'high quality counterfeit Indian paper currency' will amount to an act of terrorism damaging and threatening the security of the country. The Division Bench interpreted that the term 'security' used in Section 15 (1) of the U.A (P) Act will include financial security. The Division Bench held thus in paragraph 14 of the judgment:

'14. We are of the view that even without the insertion of the words 'economic security' in S.15, the word 'security' occurring in S.15 of the Act before its amendment would cover 'economic security' as well. In view of the definition of 'property' in S.2 (h), by using any means of whatsoever in nature, loss is caused to the property, it would attract sub-clause (ii) of clause (a) of S.15 before its amendment by Act 3 of 2013. Property includes cash, bank account and funds. The finance of the country is included in the definition of property. If any loss is caused to the finance of the country by an act on the part of the accused with intent to threaten the unity, integrity, security or sovereignty of India, it would attract S.15 of the Act.'

10. We do not accept the said interpretation given to the unamended provisions of Section 15 of the U.A.(P) Act by the Division Bench. The objects and reasons of the Unlawful Activities (Prevention)Amendment Act, 2012 will give us an indication as to the circumstance in which the Parliament thought of amending the law to include import or smuggling or circulation of 'high quality counterfeit Indian paper currency' within the definition of terrorist act. The Amendment Act indicates that the Parliament thought of bringing such an amendment as the existing provisions of the U.A(P) Act did not include within their scope such acts, and within the existing provisions of the U.A.(P) Act, import or circulation or smuggling of such currency notes will not amount to an act of terrorism threatening or likely to threaten the economic security of India. When the learned counsel for the appellant Sri.Vipin Narayan pointed out the objects and reasons of the Amendment Act, the learned standing counsel for the NIA submitted that on the basis of the objects and reasons alone, a provision cannot be interpreted. It is an accepted principle of interpretation of statutes that in interpreting a provision of law, the court will not travel beyond the meaning of the provision and the legislative purpose behind the provision. By making a stretchy and unrealistic interpretation, the court, in the process of interpretation, cannot undo or defeat what the legislature meant to achieve, or introduce what the legislature meant to undo by bringing such a provision in the statute. We are now on an interpretation of a provision of penal law. It is settled that while interpreting the provisions of penal laws, or the provisions making certain acts unlawful or illegal with penal consequences, the interpreting court ought not to do violence to the language of the Section or offend the clear meaning of the provision by which the legislature intended to achieve an object. It is well settled that penal statute shall be construed strictly and the court must take care to see, while interpreting penal provisions, that the things alleged against an accused as an offence comes squarely within the plain meaning of the words used by the legislature, and the court shall not import anything alien or extraneous in such a way as to defeat the provisions containing the legislative intent. In Commissioner of Agricultural Income Tax, Kerala v. Plantation corporation of Kerala Ltd, Kottayam [(2001) 1 SCC 207], the Hon'ble Supreme Court reiterated the broadly accepted principle of interpretation that when there is no ambiguity in the statutory language resort to any interpretative process to unfold the legislative intent becomes impermissible, and the need for interpretation arises only when the words of the statute are on their own terms ambivalent and do not manifest the intention of the legislature.

11. Of course, interpretation of statute is the exclusive area and function of the judiciary. What matters in interpretation is not, how the Government officials who drafted the law understood the provision. What really matters is, what the legislature meant and what is the object sought to be achieved. The object of the law, the subject matter of the provision, the circumstance in which the law was enacted, and the objects sought to be achieved by the provisions, are all matters that will aid the court in interpreting a provision of law. In Bhuwalka Steel Industries Ltd v. Bombay Iron and Steel Labour Board [(2010) 2 SCC 273], the Hon'ble Supreme Court held thus in paragraph 76.

'76. The argument is clearly erroneous for the simple reason that it is not the task of the State Government, more particularly, the executive branch to interpret the law; that is the task of the courts. Even if the State Government understood the Act in a particular manner, that cannot be a true and correct interpretation unless it is so held by the courts. Therefore, how the State Government officials understood the Act, is really irrelevant.'

12. The learned counsel for the appellant is very much on the objects and reasons of the Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Amendment Act, 2012 to substantiate his contention, that by the Amendment Act, the Parliament thought of bringing import or smuggling or circulation of high quality counterfeit Indian paper currency within the definition of terrorist act only because such a provision was not there in the un-amended Act, or that the un-amended law as it stood before 1.2.2013 did not in fact provide for punishing such act as an act of terrorism affecting the economic security and economic stability of the country. The learned standing counsel for the NIA cited the decision of the Hon'ble Supreme Court in M/s.Doypack Systems Pvt. Ltd v. Union of India [(1988) 2 SCC 299] and submitted that the objects and purposes of the legislation are not admissible as aids to construction. But paragraph 42 of the said judgment tells that the Objects and Reasons of a particular Act should be taken into consideration in interpreting the provisions of the statute in case of doubt. On the relevance and acceptability of the objects and reasons of an Act in the process of interpretation of a provision of the Act, the Hon'ble Supreme Court held thus in paragraph 42 of the judgment.

'42. It has to be reiterated, however that the Objects and Reasons of the Act should be taken into consideration in interpreting the provisions of the statute in case of doubt. This is the effect of the decision of this Court in K.P.Varghese v. ITO where this Court reiterated that the speech made by the Mover of the Bill explaining the reason for the introduction of the Bill could certainly be referred to for the purpose of ascertaining the mischief sought to be remedied by the legislation and the object and purpose for which the legislation was enacted. It has been reiterated that interpretation of a statute being an exercise in the ascertainment of meaning, everything which is logically relevant should be admissible.'

13. Before the amendments were introduced to the U.A (P) Act by way of the Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Amendment Act, 2012 (Act No.3 of 2013) Section 15 of the U.A (P) Act stood as follows:

'15. Terrorist Act:- Whoever does any act with intent to threaten or likely to threaten the unity, integrity, security or sovereignty of India or with intent to strike terror or likely to strike terror in the people or any section of the people in India or in any foreign country,-'

(a) by using bombs, dynamite or other explosive substances or inflammable substances or firearms or other lethal weapons or poisonous or noxious gases or other chemicals or by any other substances (whether biological, radioactive, nuclear or otherwise) of a hazardous nature or by any other means of whatever nature to cause or like to cause:-

(i) death of, or injuries to, any person or persons; or

(ii) loss of, or damage to, or destruction of property; or

(iii) disruption of any supplies or services essential to the life of the community in India, or in any foreign country; or

(iv) damage or destruction of any property in India or in a foreign country used or intended to be used for the defence of India or in connection with any other purposes of the Government of India, any State Government or any of their agencies; or

(b) overawes by means of criminal force or the show of criminal force or attempts to do so or causes death of any public functionary or attempts to cause death of any public functionary; or

(c) detains, kidnaps or abducts any person and threatens to kill or injure such person or does any other act in order to compel the Government of India, any State Government or the Government of a foreign country or any other person to do or abstain from doing any act, commits a terrorist act.

Explanation: For the purpose of this section, public functionary means the constitutional authorities and any other functionary notified in the Official Gazette by the Central Government as a public functionary.'

14. By the Amendment Act of 2012, the words 'economic security' were inserted in the opening portion of Section 15 of the U.A (P) Act, after the word security, and a new clause (iiia) to clause (a) of the Section was introduced as follows:

'(iiia) damage to, the monetary stability of India by way of production or smuggling or circulation of high quality counterfeit Indian paper currency, coin or of any other material'

15. Thus, the amended provisions of Section 15 of the U.A (P) Act now stand as follows:

'15. Terrorist Act- (1) Whoever does any act with intent to threaten or likely to threaten the unity, integrity, security, economic security, or sovereignty of India or with intent to strike terror or likely to strike terror in the people or any section of the people in India or in any foreign country.

(a) by using bombs, dynamite or other explosive substances or inflammable substances or firearms or other lethal weapons or poisonous or noxious gases or other chemicals or by any other substances (whether biological radioactive, nuclear or otherwise) of a hazardous nature or by any other means of whatever nature to cause or likely to cause-

(i) death of, or injuries to, any person or persons; or

(ii) loss of, or damage to, or destruction of, property; or

(iii) disruption of any supplies or services essential to the life of the community in India or in any foreign country; or

(iiia) damage to, the monetary stability of India by way of production or smuggling or circulation of high quality counterfeit Indian paper currency, coin or of any other material; or

(iv) damage or destruction of any property in India or in a foreign country used for intended to be used for the defence of India or in connection with any other purposes of the Government of India, any State Government or any of their agencies; or

(b) overawes by means of criminal force or the show of criminal force or attempts to do so or causes death of any public functionary or attempts to cause death of any public functionary; or

(c) detains, kidnaps or abducts any person and threatens to kill or injure such person or does any other act in order to compel the Government of India, any State Government or the Government of a foreign country or an international or intergovernmental organisation or any other person to do or abstain from doing any act; or commits a terrorist act

Explanation- For the purpose of this sub-section-

(a) 'public functionary' means the constitutional authorities or any other functionary notified in the Official Gazette by the Central Government as public functionary;

(b) 'high quality counterfeit Indian currency' means the counterfeit currency as may be declared after examination by an authorised or notified forensic authority that such currency imitates or compromises with the key security features as specified in the Third Schedule.

(2) The terrorist act includes an act which constitutes an offence within the scope of, and as defined in any of the treaties specified in the Second Schedule.'

16. An explanation was also added to the Section by the Amendment Act to explain what is meant by high quality counterfeit Indian currency. Of course, in this case, examination of the fake currency scientifically revealed that it is high quality counterfeit Indian paper currency as meant and defined under the law. No doubt, smuggling or import or production or circulation of high quality counterfeit Indian paper currency is now punishable under Section 16 of the U.A. (P) Act, as an act of terrorism as defined under Section 15 of the U.A(P) Act.

17. Our concern is not what the present provision is, but what the provision was, or how the provision stood before the amendment, because the offence alleged in this case was committed before the amended provisions came into force. Prior to the amendment, any act done with intent to threaten or likely to threaten the unity, integrity, security or sovereignty of India, or done with the object of striking terror in the mind of the people or any section of the people, by using bombs, dynamite or other explosive substances or inflammable substances or firearms or other lethal weapons or poisonous or noxious gases or other chemicals or other substances of a hazardous nature or by any other means of whatever nature would amount to a terrorist act, if such an act caused the death of or injuries to any person or persons, or caused loss of, or damage to, or destruction of property, or disruption of any supplies or services essential to the life of the community in India in or in any foreign country, or caused damage or destruction of any property in India or in a foreign country, used or intended to be used for the defence of India or in connection with any other purposes of the Government of India or of any State Government or any of their agencies etc. Thus, to constitute a terrorist act, as defined under the unamended Section 15 of the U.A (P) Act, the act done by the accused must be something done to threaten the unity, integrity, security or sovereignty of India, and such things can be achieved, or such acts can be done by using any bomb or dynamite or other explosive substances or inflammable substances or firearms or substances of hazardous nature or by any other means of whatever nature. Our stress is on clause (ii) of Section 15 (a). In Shareef's case, the Division Bench interpreted that any act causing loss of, or damage to property, done with the object of damaging or threatening the economic security of India will amount to a terrorist act under the un-amended Section 15 of the U.A (P)Act. The interpretation of the Division Bench in Shareef's case is that economic security of the country is also covered by the term security used in the first part of the un-amended Section 15, and the Division Bench also further interpreted that import or smuggling or circulation of counterfeit Indian paper currency will amount to an act causing damage to property, and that the finance of the country is included in the definition of property.

18. Section 2(h) of the U.A (P) Act defines 'property', that it means property and assets of every description,, whether corporeal or incorporeal, movable or immovable, tangible or intangible and legal documents, deeds and (instruments in any form including but not limited to) electronic or digital, evidencing title to, or interested in such property or assets by means of bank credits, travellers cheque, bank cheques, money orders, shares, securities, bonds, drafts, letters of credit, cash and bank account including fund, however acquired.

19. No doubt, the property meant and defined under Section 2 (h) of the U.A (P) Act must be something having some value in ordinary transactions, whether it is tangible or intangible, or movable or immovable or corporeal or incorporeal. Valueless objects cannot be covered by the term property. The interpretation of the Division Bench in Shareef's case is that the finance of the country is included in the definition of property. Finance is a broad term covering so many aspects of monetary set up, and it is not something that can be simply called property. To be property as meant under the law, the object must satisfy the definition of property under Section 2(h) of the U.A (P) Act. The Division Bench has gone too far with an imaginative interpretation to find that the definition of property under Section 2(h) of the U.A (P) Act will cover the finance of the country also. Finance of the country is something different, having broader connotations and applications in the country's economic set up, and it cannot be brought down to a narrow concept or object as property. So also, the term 'security' occurring in Section 15 of the U.A (P) Act cannot be stretched by interpretative process to include economic security. To understand what exactly security is, as meant by the law, the whole section must be read and appreciated carefully. It is quite clear from such interpretation and understanding that the term security meant under the law is the country's security vis-a-vis., law and order situations and internal or external affairs of the country, and not financial or economic fabric. When the parliament in its wisdom realised that economic security of the country also must be brought within the definition of terrorist act, the Parliament inserted the words 'economic security' specifically in Section 15 of the U.A (P) Act by a specific amendment. Though generally the objects and reasons of a statute cannot be given much weight or value or importance in the process of interpretation, the objects and reasons of the Unlawful Activities (Prevention)Amendment) Act, 2012 will clearly indicate that the Parliament inserted words to cover economic security in Section 15 of the U.A (P) Act because the existing provision did not cover such situations or instances of acts like smuggling or circulation of high quality counterfeit Indian paper currency causing damage to the finance of the country and economic stability of the country. We find that the Parliament in its wisdom inserted the words 'economic security' in Section 15 of the U.A.(P) Act, and also introduced clause (iiia) in Section 15 regarding production or smuggling or circulation of 'high quality counterfeit Indian paper currency', making it an act of terrorism within the meaning of Section 15, only because the existing provision did not take care of such situations and acts, and a provision was felt absolutely necessary by the Parliament to punish production or smuggling or circulation of high quality counterfeit Indian paper currency as a terrorist act damaging or destroying the monetary stability of India and the economic security of India. We, thus come to the conclusion and finding that production or smuggling or circulation of high quality counterfeit Indian paper currency was not punishable till 1.2.2013 under Section 16 of the U.A (P) Act as a terrorist act defined under Section 15 of the U.A. (P) Act. We also find that the question of law was not properly considered and decided in Shareef's case.

20. The court below denied bail to the appellant on various grounds. It was submitted before us that the trial court has already framed a charge against the accused under Sections 16 and 18 of the U.A.(P) Act for violation of Section 15 of the U.A(P) Act as it stands after amendment, and that the trial court has also framed a charge under Sections 489B & 489C of the Indian Penal Code. Bail was denied to the accused not simply on the ground that the offence comes under the U.A (P) Act. On a consideration of the various aspects including the nature of the offence alleged, the gravity of the offence, the social and economic impact of the offence alleged, the conspiracy network behind the offence alleged etc., the court below denied bail to the accused. We, on a consideration of the various relevant aspects, including the social and economic impact of the alleged offence and also the wide net work and conspiracy behind the deal, find that bail was rightly denied to the accused by the trial court. However, we make it clear that in due course of trial, the accused can approach the trial court, and in case application for bail is made afresh during trial, the trial court can consider it on merits, and take appropriate decision on a consideration of the various relevant aspects.

21. In the process of interpretation on the question of law raised before us, and referred to us , we have anxiously considered the rationale of the decision of the Division Bench in Shareef's case, the impact and implications of Article 20(1) of the Constitution of India, the circumstance in which, and also the object for which, Section 15 of the U.A. (P) Act was amended by the Parliament by the Amendment Act of 2012, and also the nature and extent of the term terrorist act meant under Section 15 of the U.A(P) Act, prior to the amendment and also after the amendment. On an interpretation of the law as it stood prior to the amendment, we find that the amended provisions of Section 15 of the U.A (P) Act cannot be applied to deal with and punish import or circulation or smuggling of 'high quality counterfeit Indian paper currency' prior to 1.2.2013.

We accordingly answer the reference and decide the issues as follows:

(i) Production or smuggling or circulation of high quality counterfeit Indian paper currency in India prior to the amendment of Section 15 of the Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Act, by Act No.3 of 2013 is not punishable as a terrorist act under Section 16 of the U.A(P) Act, and that conspiracy to commit such an act is not punishable under Section 18 of the U.A(P) Act.

(ii) The judgment in Shareef v. State (2013 (4) KLT 60) is overruled.

(iii) If the trial court has already framed charge against the accused, the court shall alter the charge appropriately, if there is no alternative charge under the provisions of the Indian Penal Code.

(iv) The order of the court below disallowing bail to the accused is upheld.

v) The appellant is given liberty to approach the trial court for bail afresh in due course of trial, and in case such application is filed, the same shall be considered and decided on merits by the trial court on a consideration of all the relevant aspects. The Registry shall immediately transmit the case records to the trial court. The trial court is directed to expedite the trial and dispose of the case without delay.

P. Somarajan, J.

The question mooted is whether the import or smuggling or production or circulation of 'high quality counterfeit Indian paper currency' in India, prior to the coming into force of Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Amendment Act, 2013 is punishable under the unamended Section 15 of the UA(P) Act as it stood prior to 1.2.2013. Necessarily there should be an idea about the unamended provision prior to 1.2.2013 in view of the argument advanced by NIA that the amended provision is intended to clarify what is already therein in the provision and to give a specification, and that nothing was brought by way of amendment in that provision except a clarification. Section 15 as it stood before amendment and after amendment are extracted below for reference:

Before amendment:

'15. Terrorist act. – Whoever does any act with intent to threaten or likely to threaten the unity, integrity, security or sovereignty of India or with intent to strike terror or likely to strike terror in the people or any section of the people in India or in any foreign country, –

(a) by using bombs, dynamite or other explosive substances or inflammable substances or firearms or other lethal weapons or poisonous or noxious gases or other chemicals or by any other substances (whether biological radioactive, nuclear or otherwise) of a hazardous nature or by any other means of whatever nature to cause or likely to cause-

(i) death of, or injuries to, any person or persons; or

(ii) loss of, or damage to, or destruction of, property; or

(iii) disruption of any supplies or services essential to the life of the community in India or in any foreign country; or

(iv) damage or destruction of any property in India or in a foreign country used or intended to be used for the defence of India or in connection with any other purposes of the Government of India, any State Government or any of their agencies; or

(b) overawes by means of criminal force or the show of criminal force or attempts to do so or causes death of any public functionary or attempts to cause death of any public functionary; or

(c) detains, kidnaps or abducts any person and threatens to kill or injure such person or does any other act in order to compel the Government of India, any State Government or the Government of a foreign country or any other person to do or abstain from doing any act,

commits a terrorist act.

Explanation.-- For the purpose of this section, public functionary means the constitutional authorities and any other functionary notified in the Official Gazette by the Central Government as a public functionary.'

(emphasis supplied)

After the amendment: '15. Terrorist act. – (1) Whoever does any act with intent to threaten or likely to threaten the unity, integrity, security, economic security or sovereignty of India or with intent to strike terror or likely to strike terror in the people or any section of the people in India or in any foreign country, –

(a) by using bombs, dynamite or other explosive substances or inflammable substances or firearms or other lethal weapons or poisonous or noxious gases or other chemicals or by any other substances (whether biological radioactive, nuclear or otherwise) of a hazardous nature or by any other means of whatever nature to cause or likely to cause-

(i) death of, or injuries to, any person or persons; or

(ii) loss of, or damage to, or destruction of, property; or

(iii) disruption of any supplies or services essential to the life of the community in India or in any foreign country; or

(iiia) damage to, the monetary stability of India by way of production or smuggling or circulation of hig quality counterfeit Indian paper currency, coin or of any other material; or

(iv) damage or destruction of any property in India or in a foreign country used or intended to be used for the defence of India or in connection with any other purposes of the Government of India, any State Government or any of their agencies; or

(b) overawes by means of criminal force or the show of criminal force or attempts to do so or causes death of any public functionary or attempts to cause death of any public functionary; or

(c) detains, kidnaps or abducts any person and threatens to kill or injure such person or does any other act in order to compel the Government of India, any State Government or the Government of a foreign country or an international or inter-governmental organisation or any other person to do or abstain from doing any act; or

commits a terrorist act.

Explanation.-- For the purpose of this sub-section.-

(a) 'public functionary' means the constitutional authorities or any other functionary notified in the Official Gazette by the Central Government as public functionary;

(b) 'high quality counterfeit Indian currency' means the counterfeit currency as may be declared after examination by an authorised or notified forensic authority that such currency imitates or compromises with the key security features as specified in the Third Schedule.

(2) The terrorist act includes an act which constitutes an offence within the scope of, and as defined in any of the treaties specified in the Second Schedule.'

(emphasis supplied)

2. The question whether subsequent amendment to Section 15 of the said Act is by way of clarification or not can be ascertained only by interpreting the said provision as it stood before the amendment and in relation to what is incorporated by way of amendment. For that purpose, it is necessary to look into and interpret Section 15 as it stood before amendment and after amendment. It is by way of amendment the expression 'economic security' was incorporated in the main body of Section 15 of the Act just after the expression 'security' by renumbering Section 15 as 15(1) and sub-clause (iiia) was incorporated to clause (a) to Section 15(1) of the Act, by which 'damage to, the monetary stability of India by way of production or smuggling or circulation of high quality counterfeit Indian paper currency, coin or of any other material' was also incorporated. Before the amendment, Section 15 as it stood then, intakes user of bombs, dynamite or other explosive substances or inflammable substances or firearms or other lethal weapons or poisonous or noxious gases or other chemicals or by any other substances (whether biological radioactive, nuclear or otherwise) of a hazardous nature or by any other means of whatever nature to cause or likely to cause (i) either death of, or injuries to, any person or persons; or (ii) loss of, or damage to, or destruction of, property; or (iii) disruption of any supplies or services essential to the life of the community in India or in any foreign country; or (iv) damage or destruction of any property in India or in a foreign country used or intended to be used for the defence of India or in connection with any other purposes of the Government of India, any State Government or any of their agencies.

3. To resolve the issue it is not necessary to look into Clauses (b) and (c) of Section 15 of the Act as it stood before amendment. A mere reading of Section 15 as it stood before amendment would clearly show that it defines what is amounts to 'terrorist act'. Clauses (a), (b) and (c) deal with the acts which amounts to commission of a 'terrorist act'. Clause (a) identifies four specific areas under sub-clauses (i) to (iv) as the consequences of/resultant effect of acts incorporated under Clause (a). In other words, the matters which were brought under Clause (a) as 'terrorist act' also identified based on its resultant effect/consequences which were identified in four areas. In short, the main part of Clause (a) deals with the actions/acts which amounts to a 'terrorist act' and sub-clauses (i) to (iv) is resultant effect with the expression in the main Clause (a) 'cause or likely to cause' which stands for not only the happening of a resultant effect but also a possibility or probability of having the result as enumerated in sub-clauses (i) to (iv) to Clause (a) of Section 15 of the Act. So it can be summarised as the acts done as enumerated in Clause (a) [Clauses (b) and (c) also] with intent to threaten or likely to threaten the unity, integrity, security or sovereignty of India or with intent to strike terror or likely to strike terror in the people or any section of the people in India or in any foreign country would amounts to commission of a 'terrorist act' as defined under Section 15 of the Act, if it satisfies causing or likelihood of causing any of the result as made mentioned in sub-clauses (i) to (iv). This would show that what amounts to commission of 'terrorist act' has to be understood in relation to sub-clauses (i) to (iv) of Clause (a) of Section 15 of the Act besides clauses (b) and (c). The expression 'by any other means of whatever nature' as incorporated in clause (a) has to be understood both in relation to the resultant effect of the act or possibility of having a resultant effect which would satisfy sub-clauses (i) to (iv) to Clause (a) of Section 15, as it stood before amendment. The opening words in Section 15 'the unity, integrity, security, sovereignty of India' has to be understood in relation to clauses (a) to (c) and in reference to the resultant effect as narrated under sub-clauses (i) to (iv) as against the acts enumerated under Clause (a) of Section 15 of the Act, as it stood before amendment. Then the question is so simple whether the acts as enumerated in Clause (a) would satisfy the requirement under sub-clauses (i) to (iv), and if it satisfies it would be a commission of 'terrorist act'. In other words, if there is likely to cause or cause any of the resultant effects as enumerated in clauses (i) to (iv) by the acts as enumerated under clause (a), it would amounts to commission of a 'terrorist act' as defined under Section 15 of the Act as it stood before amendment. In clause (a) besides user of bombs, dynamite, explosive substances, lethal weapons, poisonous or noxious gases or other chemicals or any other substances of hazardous nature, the expression 'by any other means of whatever nature' also included, besides the expression 'as to cause or likely to cause' which stands for any resultant effect as enumerated in sub-clauses (i) to (iv) of Clause (a) of Section 15 of the Act. Sub-clause (ii) deals with loss of, or damage to, or destruction of property. There cannot be any quarrel that Indian Rupee is a property by virtue of exhaustive definition given under Section 2(h) of the UA(P) Act. It is true that the finance of the State may have different connotation from that of a 'property' as defined under Section 2(h) of UA(P) Act. But, the question to be considered is whether Indian paper currency which is a property as defined under Section 2(h) of UA(P) Act would suffer any loss or damage or destruction in its value due to the printing, production, smuggling and circulation of counterfeit Indian paper currency and not the destruction of finance of the State. Circulation of counterfeit currency printed in a foreign country and smuggling and production of such currency would definitely destructs the financial stability of the nation. Printing of counterfeit currency in large scale and its circulation in India would defeat and destroy the value carried by Indian currency note and it will destruct the financial stability of the nation at large. In other words, it would cause loss of value of the Indian currency, damage to the financial stability of the nation and also destruction of actual value carried by the Indian currency by the circulation of counterfeit paper currency. It amounts to causing damage and destruction of property, being Indian paper currency is a property as defined under Section 2(h) of UA(P) Act. Then the only question remains whether it would threaten or likely to threaten 'the unity, integrity, security or sovereignty of India'. Causing damage or destructing value of Indian paper currency would amounts to destructing the financial stability of India which would be an integral part of 'security' of the nation. The expression 'Security' would intake 'financial security and economic stability' as well. It has no restricted meaning when read along with the various clauses under Section 15 of the said Act viz. unity, integrity, security or sovereignty of India. It has to be understood in its wider meaning in consonance with the wording used (unity of India, integrity of India, security of India or sovereignty of India). The word 'security' has to be understood in its plain meaning in reference to the other words and expressions used in the opening portion of Section 15 and in relation with clauses (a) to (c) of Section 15 of the Act. Circulation, production or smuggling of counterfeit Indian paper currency, whatever may be its nature or quality, whether high or low, if it is capable of destroying or reducing or damaging the value of Indian paper currency, would come under the purview of commission of 'terrorist act' as defined under Section 15 of the Act as it stood before its amendment. Further, any act causing damage or likely to cause damage or destruction to any property in India also brought under the wider spectrum of sub-clause (iv) if it was done 'in connection with any purpose of Government of India'. The expression 'in connection with any other purpose of Government of India' should read as all purposes other than the defence purpose in India. Indian currency note being the property of nation, it would come under the purpose of expression 'in connection with any other purpose of Government of India' as incorporated in sub-clause (iv) when there is damage or destruction of such property. The damage or destruction may not be direct or physical. It can be done by circulating counterfeit Indian paper currency in large scale. As discussed earlier, it would satisfy threatening the financial security of India because of the reason that financial security is resting on the financial stability and value and confidence attached to its currency. So, a restricted meaning to the expression 'security' confined to the acts of explosion of bombs, user of explosive substances, user of lethal weapons, hazardous substances or armed attack and such other physical activities is detrimental to the legislative intention and destructive to the provision viz. Section 15 of the said Act. The language employed in Section 15 is clear and unambiguous. The expression used 'loss of, or damage to, or destruction of property as the resultant effect or likelihood of causing such a result' and the expression 'cause or likely to cause, with intent to threaten or likely to threaten, the unity, integrity, security or sovereignty of India' is so plain, unambiguous, not capable of giving any other interpretation, to the expression 'security' and destruction or loss or damage to the property would make the said expression clear and unambiguous that it would intake not only defence security of the nation but also financial security and social security which are well explicit by the language used in clause (a) (i) to (iv), clauses (b) and (c) of Section 15 of the Act.

4. A three Judge Bench of the Apex Court in State of Rajasthan State of Himachal Pradesh v. Bhanwar Lal Pawan Kumar (LAWS (SC) 2005 445: AIR 2005 SC 2265: AIR 2005 SCW 2154: 2005 (3) KLT 195: 2005 KHC 860: (2005) 4 SCC 350) had laid down the principle governing interpretation of statutes as under:

'One of the basic principles of interpretation of Statutes is to construe them according to plain, literal and grammatical meaning of the words. If that is contrary to, or inconsistent with, any express intention or declared purpose of the Statute, or if it would involve any absurdity, repugnancy or inconsistency, the grammatical sense must then be modified, extended or abridged, so far as to avoid such an inconvenience, but no further. The onus of showing that the words do not mean what they say lies heavily on the party who alleges it. He must advance something which clearly shows that the grammatical construction would be repugnant to the intention of the Act or lead to some manifest absurdity (See Craies on Statute Laws, Seventh ed.pages 83-85). In the well known treatise - Principles of Statutory Interpretation by Justice G.P.Singh, the learned author has enunciated the same principle that the words of the Statute are first understood in their natural, ordinary or popular sense and phrases and sentences are construed according to their grammatical meaning, unless that leads to some absurdity or unless there is something in the context or in the object of the Statute to suggest the contrary (See the Chapter - The Rule of Literal Construction - page 78 - Ninth Ed.). This Court has also followed this principle right from the beginning. In Jugalkishore Saraf vs. M/s.Raw Cotton Co. Ltd. AIR 1955 SC 376, S.R.Das J., said:-

'The cardinal rule of construction of statutes is to read the statute literally that is, by giving to the words used by the legislature their ordinary, natural and grammatical meaning. If, however, such a reading leads to absurdity and the words are susceptible of another meaning the Court may adopt the same. But if no such alternative construction is possible, the Court must adopt the ordinary rule of literal interpretation.'

5. This legal position was again reiterated by another Bench of the Apex Court in M/s.Doypack Systems (P) Ltd. v. Union of India [(1988) 2 SCC 299]. The relevancy of statement of objects and reasons while interpreting a particular statute/provision was considered along with the role of 'External aid'. It was held that when the language of the provisions of the Act is clear and unambiguous there is no need to resort to the aids of construction.

6. The legal position was again reiterated by another three Judge Bench of the Apex Court in Commissioner of Agricultural Income Tax, Kerala v. Plantation Corporation of Kerala Ltd., Kottayam [(2001) 1 SCC 207]. The relevant portion of the said judgment is extracted below for reference:

'This Court has always been reiterating that if the intendment is not in the words used it is nowhere else and so long as there is no ambiguity in the statutory language resort to any interpreting process to unfold the legislative intent becomes impermissible and the need for interpretation arises only when the words in the statute are on their own terms ambivalent and do not manifest the intention of the legislature (vide Doypack Systems (P) Ltd. v. Union of India (1988) 2 SCC 299) and Keshavji Ravji & Co. v. CIT (1990) 2 SCC 231: 1990 SCC (Tax) 268). That apart, an explanation is intended to either explain the meaning of certain phrases and expressions contained in a statutory provision or depending upon its language it might supply or take away something from the contents of a provision and at times even to, by way of abundant caution, clear any mental cobwebs surrounding the meaning of a statutory provision spun by interpretative process to make the position beyond controversy or doubt.'

7. While interpreting a penal provision, the principle of strict interpretation has to be applied and if the language used is plain and clear regarding the legislative intention, there cannot be any application of either internal or external aid. The Apex Court in R. Kalyani v. Janak C. Mehta and others [(2009) 1 SCC 516)] had laid down the principle as under:

'36. Although the legal principle that a penal statute must receive strict construction, it is not in doubt or dispute, we may notice some authorities in this behalf. In Section 263 of Francis Bennion's Statutory Interpretation it is stated:

'A principle of statutory interpretation embodies the policy of the law, which is in turn based on public policy. The court presumes, unless the contrary intention appears, that the legislator intended to conform to this legal policy. A principle of statutory interpretation can therefore be described as a principle of legal policy formulated as a guide to legislative intention.'

37. Maxwell in The Interpretation of Statutes (12th Edn.) says:

'The strict construction of penal statutes seems to manifest itself in four ways: in the requirement of express language for the creation of an offence; in interpreting strictly words setting out the elements of an offence; in requiring the fulfilment to the letter of statutory conditions precedent to the infliction of punishment; and in insisting on the strict observance of technical provisions concerning criminal procedure and jurisdiction.'

38. In Craies Statute Law (7th Edn. At p. 529) it is said that penal statutes must be construed strictly. At p. 530 of the said treatise, referring to U.S. v. Wiltberger (5 L.Ed 37: 18 US (5 Wheat)76 (1820) it is observed, thus:

'The distinction between a strict construction and a more free one has, no doubt, in modern times almost disappeared, and the question now is, what is the true construction of the statute? I should say that in a criminal statute you must be quite sure that the offence charged is within the letter of the law. This rule is said to be founded on the tenderness of the law for the rights of individuals, and on the plain principle that the power of punishment is vested in the legislature, and not in the judicial department, for it is the legislature, not the court, which is to define a crime and ordain its punishment.'

39. In Truck & Sons v. Priester [(1887) 19 QBD 629 (CA)], which is followed in London and Country Commercial Properties Investments Ltd. v. Attorney General [(1953) 1 WLR 312: (1953) 1 All ER 436], it is stated:

'We must be very careful in construing that section, because it imposes a penalty. If there is a reasonable interpretation, which will avoid the penalty in any particular case, we must adopt that construction. Unless penalties are imposed in clear terms they are not enforceable. Also where various interpretations of a section are admissible it is a strong reason against adopting a particular interpretation if it shall appear that the result would be unreasonable or oppressive.''

8. Again the Apex Court in Sameer Ahmed Latifur Rehman Sheikh v. State of Maharashtra [(2010) 5 SCC 246] has laid down the basic principles of interpretation of phrase and words used in criminal law:

'It is a well-established rule of interpretation that the entries in the list being fields of legislation must receive liberal construction inspired by a broad and generous spirit and not a narrow or pedantic approach. Each general word should extent to all ancillary and subsidiary matters which can fairly and reasonably be comprehended within it. (para 38)

It is also a cardinal rule of interpretation that there shall always be a presumption of constitutionality in favour of a statute and while construing such statute every lega

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lly permissible effort should be made to keep the statute within the competence of the State legislature (para 39). One of the proven methods of examining the legislative competence of a legislature with regard to an enactment is by the application of the doctrine of pith and substance. This doctrine is applied when the legislative competence of the legislature with regard to a particular enactment is challenged with reference to the entries in various lists. If there is a challenge to the legislative competence, the courts will try to ascertain the pith and substance of such enactment on a scrutiny of the Act in question. In this process, it is necessary for the courts to go into and examine the true character of the enactment, its object, its scope and effect to find out whether the enactment in question is genuinely referable to a field of the legislation allotted to the respective legislature under the constitutional scheme. This doctrine is an established principle of law in India recognised not only by the Supreme Court, but also by various High Courts.' 9. The importance of construing anti-corruption laws consistent with their objects was also came up before another Bench of the Supreme Court in Subramaniam Swamy v. Man Mohan Singh [(2012) 3 SCC 64] and the relevant para is extracted below for reference: 'Today, corruption in India not only poses a grave danger to the concept of constitutional governance, it also threatens the very foundation of the Indian democracy and the Rule of Law. The magnitude of corruption in public life is incompatible with the concept of a socialist secular democratic republic. Where corruption begins all rights end. Corruption devalues human rights, chokes development and undermines justice, liberty, equality, fraternity which are the core values in Indian Preambular vision. The duty of the court is that any anti-corruption law has to be interpreted and worked out in such a fashion as to strengthen the fight against corruption. In a situation where to constructions are eminently reasonable, the court has to accept the one that seeks to eradicate corruption to the one which seeks to perpetuate it. Time and again the court has expressed its dismay and shock at the ever-growing tentacles of corruption in society but even then situations have not improved much. (paras 68 and 69).' (emphasis supplied) 10. After corruption, terrorism became one of the main challenge against our system and hence the principle laid down by the Apex Court in the abovesaid decision is squarely applicable while interpreting a penal provision which is intended for maintaining unity, integrity, security and sovereignty of India. 11. In the instant case, Section 15 as stood prior to the amendment is clear and unambiguous and the legislative intention is so explicit by the user of opening words with the nature of acts and its resultant effect or possibility of having a resultant effect. An exhaustive provision is made under Section 15 of the said Act prior to its amendment. Needless to say that though Section 15 was subsequently amended no amendment was carried out as far as Section 16 is concerned, the provision dealing with the punishment of 'terrorist act'. In other words, the punishment and the penal provision imposing punishment, viz. Section 16 of the Act, is squarely applicable to the offence which were committed before and after the amendment of Section 15 of the Act and hence the charge framed under Section 16 of the Act against the accused in the instant is valid and will not suffer any infirmity, either jurisdictional or legal. 12. On coming into the application of Article 20(1) of the Constitution of India, it must be understood in reference to 'law in force'. As discussed in earlier paragraphs, the charge framed under Section 16 as against the accused suffers no legal or jurisdictional infirmity, as the same was charged based on the alleged commission of offence of terrorist act as defined under Section 15 as it stood prior to the amendment. So, there cannot be any application of Article 20(1) of the Constitution of India and the decision rendered by the Apex Court in Rao Shiv Bahadur Singh and another v. State of Vindhya Pradesh (AIR 1953 SC 394) has no application in the instant case. 13. The amendment to Section 15 as per Amendment Act 3 of 2013 with effect from 1.2.2013 is only a clarification in view of the production, smuggling and circulation of high quality counterfeit Indian paper currency. It really amounts to giving more emphasis to the commission of 'terrorist act' by causing damages to the monetary stability of India by way of production, smuggling or circulation of high quality counterfeit Indian paper currency. In the instant case what is alleged to have been involved is the high quality counterfeit Indian paper currency printed at Pakisthan routed through another country. Hence, I am in full agreement with the legal position settled by a Division Bench of this Court in Shereef v. State (2013 (4) KLT 60) and hence there is no legal or jurisdictional error or infirmity in framing charge under Section 16 of UA(P) Act against the accused persons in the instant case. ORDER In view of the finding of the majority of Judges, the reference is answered and the appeal is disposed of, in the following manner: (i) Production or smuggling or circulation of high quality counterfeit Indian paper currency in India prior to the amendment of Section 15 of the Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Act, by Act No.3 of 2013 is not punishable as a terrorist act under Section 16 of the U.A(P)Act, and that conspiracy to commit such an act is not punishable under Section 18 of the U.A(P) Act. (ii) The judgment in Shareef v. State (2013 (4) KLT 60) is overruled. (iii) If the trial court has already framed charge against the accused, the court shall alter the charge appropriately, if there is no alternative charge under the provisions of the Indian Penal Code. (iv) The order of the court below disallowing bail to the accused is upheld. (v) The appellant is given liberty to approach the trial court for bail afresh in due course of trial, and in case such application is filed, the same shall be considered and decided on merits by the trial court on a consideration of all the relevant aspects. The Registry shall immediately transmit the case records to the trial court. The trial court is directed to expedite the trial and dispose of the case without delay.
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