C. Jagannadhacharyulu, J.C.
1. This is a petition in revision filed by the Government of Manipur against the Order of Shri Y. Ibotombi Singh, Magistrate First Class, Manipur dated 25.8.1967 in refusing to obtain the finger impressions and specimen signatures of the accused in F.I.R. Case No. 195(8)67 M.I.P. Section under Section 409, I.P.C.
2. The circumstances leading to the filing of this revision petition are as follows:
On 18.7.1967 one Khumukwam Toyaima Singh, a village Pradhan, collected 15 quintals of rice and 15 quintals of atta from the Civil Supply Office for distribution to the villagers. But, the Pradhan, along with others, is alleged to have misappropriated the food grains by maintaining a register with fictitious names of some villagers, who did not receive any quantity of food grains. A case being F.I.R. Case No. 195 (8) 67 M.I.P.C. Under Section 409, I.P.C. was registered.
3. The Investigating Officer seized a register containing thumb impressions and signatures. He arrested all the accused persons. He moved the Magistrate - Shri H. Jugeswar Singh on 17.8.1967 and also on 13.8.1967 by filing petitions to make the accused put their thumb impressions and signatures for comparison by a handwriting, expert and finger print expert. The Magistrate forwarded the accused to Shri Y. Ibotombi Singh. But, as the accused refused* to put their thumb impressions and sign. before the Magistrate, the latter sent back, the accused without making them give their thumb impressions and specimen handwritings.
4. Hence the revision petition.
5. Neither the respondents nor their counsel appeared when the case was called. The learned Government Advocate addressed his arguments.
6. It is now clear by the decision of the Supreme Court in State of Bombay v. Kathi Kalu Oghad : 1961CriLJ856 that giving thumb impressions or specimen hand writing does not fall within the expression 'to be a witness' under Article 20(3) of the Constitution of India. So, an accused can be compelled to put his thumb impressions or sign before a Magistrate, so that they can be compared with other thumb impressions or signatures on record.
7. Also, under Section 4 of Identification of Prisoners Act, 1920, any person who has been arrested in connection with an offence punishable with rigorous imprisonment for a term of one year or upwards should, if so required by the Police Officer, allow his 'measurement' to be taken in the prescribed manner. Section 5 of the same Act empowers a Magistrate to order a person to be measured or photographed. Under Section 2(a) of the Act 'measurement' includes finger impressions. So, under Section 6 of the Act, if he refuses or resists to allow his measurements or photographs to be taken, it shall be lawful to use all the means necessary to secure the taking thereof. Resistance is an offence punishable Under Section 186, I.P.C. But, the word 'measurement' does not include 'handwriting'. So, though the accused can be compelled to put his thumb marks, he cannot be compelled to sign. But he is liable to be prosecuted Under Section 186, I.P.C. In any case the Magistrate has got the power to make an accused put his thumb mark or sign. As such, the Magistrate Shri Ibotombi Singh went wrong in sending away the accused. He should have taken steps according to law to obtain thumb impressions or signatures of the respondents.
8. In the result, the order of the Magistrate is set aside and the revision petition is allowed. The Magistrate is directed to obtain the thumb impressions and signatures of the accused respondents. If they refuse to give their thumb impressions or to sign, the Magistrate should take steps according to-law to obtain the same.