(AIR 2019 SC 3274)

Provisions Involved

Section 482 of Code of Criminal Procedure, section 2(17A) and 53(a) of Bihar Excise (Amendment) Act, 2016


The appellants were travelling from Giridih, Jharkhand to Patna to attend a meeting of Rotary Club on 25 June, 2016. They were travelling by the vehicle No. JH-11K/8146. The vehicle was stopped for routine checkup at Rajauli Check Post, District Nawada, Bihar by Sub-Inspector Excise. No liquor or anything incriminating was found in the vehicle. The appellants were subjected to a breath analyser test in which a certain quantity of alcohol was found. The appellants were arrested and remained in custody for two days. FIR was lodged against them. The Chief Judicial Magistrate, Nawada took cognizance by order dated 30th July 2016.the appellants filed a petition under section 482 Cr.P.C. praying for setting aside the order dated 30th July 2016 passed by the CJM. The High Court vide its order dated 16.02.2018 dismissed the application under Section 482 Cr.P.C. aggrieved by which order this appeal has been filed.


Whether the vehicle in which the appellants were travelling can be said to be a public place within the meaning of Section 2(17A) of Bihar Excise (Amendment) Act, 2016?


According to the section 2(17A) of the Bihar Excise (Amendment) Act, 2016, “Public Place” means “any place to which the public has access, whether as a matter of right or not and includes all places visited by the general public and also includes any open space.” The court observed that the key word in the definition was “access”. Any place to which the public has access, whether as a matter of right or not, is a public space. It observed that the public can have access to a private vehicle on a road.

The court also observed that the omission of public conveyance in the definition of Section 2(17A) brought by the Bihar Excise (Amendment) Act, 2016 also indicates that the difference between public conveyance and private conveyance was done away in the statutory amendment.


The court disposed of this appeal by providing that the appellants shall be at liberty to file an application for discharge before the learned Magistrate, who shall decide the said application taking into consideration the materials on record, in accordance with law.