1. The opponent is one of the founders and promoters of a gymnasium class started in Sankeshwar in July 1928, It is admitted that he either brought or ordered from Poona four spears and one dagger for the purposes of the gymnasium class 3A where exercises with spears and daggers were being practised. Two of these spears had brass heads and the dagger also was of brass. The other two spears had iron heads.
2. The opponent was prosecuted before the Sub-Divisional Magistrate, First Class, Belgaum, for offences under Clauses (d), (e) and (f) of. Section 19 of the Indian Arms Act in respect of these five articles. The Magistrate held that the two brass spears and the brass dagger were not capable of inflicting injuries and were not arms within the meaning of Section 4 of the Indian Arms Act, 1878. He held, however, that the two iron spears were dangerous weapons and could inflict injuries on human beings and cattle. He convicted the opponent in respect of the two iron spears of offences under Clauses (of), (e) and (f) of Section 19, and imposed a fine of Rs. 20 for each of the three offences, i. e., in all Rs. 60.
3. The opponent preferred an appeal to the Sessions Judge of Belgaum against his conviction and sentences. Before the Sessions Judge it was conceded by the prosecution that the conviction of the opponent under Clauses (d) and (f) of Section 19 could not be sustained. With regard to the conviction under Clause (e) of Section 19 the Sessions Judge was of opinion that the two iron spears came under the category of theatrical property and were therefore exempt from the prohibitions in the Indian Arms Act, including those contained in Section 13. He, therefore, reversed the conviction and sentences of the opponent. The Government of Bombay have appealed to this Court against the Sessions Judge's order of acquittal.
4. The learned Government Pleader does not question the correctness of the Sessions Judge's reversal of the conviction of the opponent or offences under Clauses (d) and (f) of Section 19, but contends that the acquittal of the opponent for an offence under Clause (e) of Section 19 is not correct.
5. The question we have to determine in this appeal is whether the opponent can be said to have gone 'armed' in contravention of the provisions of Section 13. Section 13 provides :
No person shall go armed with any arms except under a license and to the extent and in the manner permitted thereby.
6. ' Arms' are defined in Section 4 as including inter alia spears and spear-heads. The two iron spears have been produced before us in Court. The edges of one of these spears are blunt but its pointed end is sharp. With regard to the other spear the point at the end is broken and the edges as well as the pointed end of this spear are blunt. These two weapons can undoubtedly be regarded as spears in the ordinary sense of the word. The one with a sharp end could be used as it is with some effect both as a weapon of offence and of defence. To sharpen the edges of this weapon would present no serious difficulty and it could then be used with greater efficacy for offensive and defensive purposes. With regard to the second spear although its pointed end is broken and hence blunt and its edges too are blunt these are defects which could be easily remedied and the weapon used for offensive and defensive purposes. A spear, in my opinion, would not cease to be a spear by reason of its point and edges becoming blunt if they are capable of being re-sharpened at any time. The Sub-Inspector of Police who gave evidence in this case said that both these iron spears are dangerous weapons and are capable of inflicting injury on human beings and cattle. These two iron spears in our judgment would not come under Clause (d) of Government Notification under Section 1,3 of the Indian Arms Act. That notification excludes ornamental arms of an obsolete pattern and theatrical property being virtually useless for offensive and defensive purposes. We are unable to agree with the Sessions Judge that these two spears are weapons of that kind.
7. The next question is whether it is satisfactorily proved that the opponent went armed with these two weapons. The evidence of Hassansab Imamaab, the Police Constable, shows that the opponent took part in the parades held under the auspices of the gymnasium and used the spears on these occasions. The witness has also stated that every day the spears and jambiyas were being brought and kept in the opponent's shop after the parades were over and -were being taken from the shop of the opponent for the parades every morning and evening. The opponent in his statement before the Magistrate has denied that these spears were used on the occasion of the parades held under the auspices of the gymnasium ; but having regard to the fact that these spears were either brought or ordered by the opponent for the purposes of the gymnasium and the further fact that the opponent was a founder and promoter of the gymnasium and was taking an active interest in its programme, it is not unlikely that the opponent did use these spears on the occasions when the parades were held. The learned Magistrate who tried the case was satisfied from the evidence that the opponent was taking the spears to the parade ground, was using them in person there, and was also giving them to the members of the gymnasium to be used by them on those occasions. We see no sufficient reason to differ from the Magistrate's appreciation of the evidence on this point.
8. It appears that the opponent was of the opinion that going about with these weapons did not require a license. It is clear from the evidence that it was not the opponent's purpose to use these weapons for any but gymnastic exercises. We are of opinion that the offence of the opponent does not call for any substantial sentence. We set aside the order of acquittal, convict the opponent of an offence under Section 19, cl (e), of the Indian Arms Act (XI of 1878) and sentence him to pay a fine of Rs. 5. The iron spears in Court will be confiscated and the brass spears and the jambiya will be returned to the opponent.
9. I agree.