Royal Commission on Labour in India: Report(1929)||
At the same time defects in the law are partly responsible for the present deficiencies. Unlike the British law, the Indian Act contains no special provisions relating to second offences. It seems, indeed, doubtful if evidence of previous convictions can be led. and the absurdly inadequate punishment meted out to hardened offenders is probably due in some cases to the fact that the magistrate was not in possession of the offender's record in respect of the Act. We consider that the law should be amended in two directions. In the first place, it should be possible to adduce evidence of any previous convictions of the accused under the Act after conviction and before sentence, as such convictions are in most cases very relevant in determining the appropriate sentence. In the second place, the Act should provide that, where a second offence is proved against the same accused within a period of two years from the last conviction for an offence in the same category, the fine should not be less than one-fifth of the maximum penalty possible, and for a third or subsequent offence, not less than one half. In order to meet the possibility that extreme hardship might result from such a provision in an exceptional case, it might be provided that the magistrate may, for reasons to be recorded in writing, reduce the fine below these limits in exceptional circumstances.