C. Sanjeeva Row Nayudu, C.J.
1. The charge against the accused is one under Section 411, Indian Penal Code, for receiving an electric motor, which was stolen property, knowing that it was stolen.
2. The evidence of the prosecution consists of proof that the motor was stolen on 25.7.1959 in a tea garden. The evidence of the prosecution also proves that it was recovered on 21.9.1959 at Doomdooma having been found in a gunny bag in a passenger bus. The accused offered an explanation in his statement as well as by examining two defence witnesses, to the effect that one Dhirendra, co-accused with him, had handed it over to him for purpose of repair. This evidence cannot be so easily brushed aside as was done by the court below on the ground that D.Ws. 1 and 2 were mere chance witnesses Generally when the recovery is made from a passenger bus in a public place and before that a certain thing is handed over to a certain person the persons happened to be present there at the time are the persons to speak abot it unless some witnesses are pecially planted. Thus there is no meaning in the observation of the learned Assistant Sessions Judge. The presumption under Section 114 of the Evidence Act may be drawn by Courts based on recovery of the stolen goods from the possession of a person soon after the theft. The words 'soon after' imply that the interval should not be much between the time of theft and that of the recovery. It is not always obligatory on the Court to draw this inference particularly when the accused has offered an explanation. The inference from the possession can be drawn when there is no explanation forthcoming from the side of the accused. In the instant case, the accused has given a fairly satisfactory explanation to explain his possession. The recovery is made from a passenger bus and it was at a place six miles away from the place of the alleged theft and about two months after. The court below was not justified in drawing a presumption under Section 114 of the Evidence Act, in the circumstances. The conviction is therefore bad.
3. The petition is accordingly allowed and the conviction and sentence are quashed. The accused-petitioner is discharged from his bail bond.