J.N. Datta, J.C.
1. This is a petition under Article 134(1)(c) of the Constitution for a certificate of fitness to appeal to the Supreme Court.
2. The petitioners, four in number, were convicted, one under Sections 307 and 447 of the I.P.C., others were convicted under Section 307 read with Secction 115 and Secction 452 of the I. P. C. One of them was convicted under Secction 326 also, but in the appeal to this Court he was acquitted of that charge, while the convictions of all on other charges and the sentences which are to run concurrently, the highest being 7 years in the case of the main accused and 4 years in the case of others, were maintained.
3. Briefly stated the case against the petitioners was, that they trespassed into the house and compound of P.W. 2 (Krishnadas) on the morning Order 4-10-56, petitioner Chandramani being armed with a Dao, and inflicted severe injuries on P.W. 1 (Bidhu) and also P.W. 4 (Munal). Some of the phalanges of two fingers of the right hand of P.W. 1 were chopped off, and incised wounds on the head, neck and other parts of the body of P.W. 1 were caused. An incised wound with the under-bone fractured was also caused to the right side of the head of P.W. 4. The petitioners were apprehended while running away after committing the offences.
4. The defence was one of denial, and that the petitioners were implicated falsely, because of a fracas that took place the night before between men of the two parties, and in which Ira Singh a brother of petitioner Chandramani, was severely assaulted. The learned Sessions Judge negatived this contention, and found on the evidence which consisted of an eye-witness (besides those assaulted), of those who arrived on the scene soon after, and other circumstantial evidence that the offences were proved against the petitioners beyond any, doubt; and this Court concurred in that finding on appeal, except with the modification to which reference has already been made above.
5. Thus the whole question involved was one of fact, and as regards that the findings of this Court and that of the trial Court have been concurrent, and a certificate under Article 134(1)(c) cannot be granted unless there is a substantial question of law, or unless there are exceptional and special circumstances. I am afraid no such question arises or is involved, though the petitioners have made an attempt to show that questions of law are involved.
6. The evidence in the Sessions Court was given by the witnesses in Manipuri language, and it was recorded in English with the aid of an interpreter. Under Secction 58 of the Manipur State Constitution Act, 1947, the Court language of the State was declared to be Manipuri or English. The Cr. P. Code was applied to this area only recently, and no notification under Section 558 of the Code has been issued by the Government there-after. I am therefore of the view that the Court languages declared under the old law will continue to be the Court languages, until they are replaced by a fresh notification. Section 24 of the General Clauses Act, though not applicable in term also lends support to that view.
7. The objection taken, however, was that the learned Sessions Judge should have followed the provisions of Section 356 (2-A), that is, he should have recorded or caused to be recorded, the evidenee in Manipuri language, with a translation in English. In the view that I have already expressed, that Sub-Section is not attracted. No such objection was also taken so far.
8. The next ground is that the depositions of the witnesses ought to have been read over to the witnesses under Section 360 of the Cr. P.C., implying thereby that they were not so read over. No such objection was raised earlier, and the presumption will be that Section 360 was complied with. In any case such an omission, will be a curable irregularity, unless it is shown that prejudice was caused thereby to the accused.
No affidavit was filed, showing any inaccuracy in the depositions, and it is therefore difficult to see, how any prejudice was caused to the accused, even if it were to be presumed for the sake of argument, that there was an omission to read over or interpret the depositions to the witnesses see Bhagwan Singh v. State of Punjab : 1952CriLJ1131 . It is also a question of fact which should have been raised at the trial or at least in appeal, but that was not done and I do not think that the petitioners can be allowed to raise it at this late stage or that it can be a good ground for the grant of a certificate in the circumstances narrated above.
9. Two other grounds taken in the petition may be briefly disposed of. They relate to the question of placing reliance on the testimony of witnasses. The contentions are worded in the petition thus:
3. For that upon the proper interpretation of the First Information Report the witnesses' evidence ought to have been judged.
4. For that falsus in uno falsus in Omni ought to have been applied to the present case.
10. It will be obvious that there is no force in these contentions, because the question whether a witness is reliable or not and to what extent, is a question for the Judge to decide and that was done in the present case in both the Courts. It cannot therefore form a good ground for a certificate in this case, in which the simple question involved was whether the petitioners were responsible for causing the injuries, as already stated, and both Courts came to the conclusion that it was so, after scrutinizing the evidence adduced in the case, and considering the pros and cons involved. The question of weighing the evidence cannot therefore furnish a good ground for the grant of certificate. In a recent case Khushal Rao v. State of Bombay : 1958CriLJ106 also their Lordships of the Supreme Court held, that a certificate under Article 134(1)(c) should not be granted, when the main ground relates to a question of fact.
11. For the above reasons I am constrained to come to the conclusion that no substantial question of law is involved, nor are there exceptional and special circumstances present which would justify the grant of a certificate under Article 131(1)(c). Consequently this application for certificate fails and is rejected.