1. This is an application in revision. The applicant was the keeper of a certain printing press at Nadiad in Kaira, and in respect of that press he had made the declaration required by the statute. In consequence of certain objectionable matter which had appeared in the press, the Government of Bombay, on the 13th September 1912, issued to the applicant a notice, Ext. 3, calling upon him under Section 1-3, sub-section 2, of the Indian Press Act 1910 to deposit with the District Magistrate security to the amount of Rs. 3,000 in money or an equivalent thereof in securities of the Government of India. This notice was, on the 26th September, made over to the Police for service on the applicant, and it was actually served on the applicant on the afternoon of the 28th September which was a Saturday. It is to be observed that Section 3, sub-section 2, of the statute makes no provision for the specification of any time within which the deposit required has to be made, and the notice Ext. 3 following the statute was also silent as to any time limit within which the deposit had to be offered. The 29th of September was a Sunday. On the following day the 30th, the applicant sent off by post letters to His Excellency the Governor and to the District Magistrate of Kaira stating that he had closed down the press. On the 2nd of October the applicant sold the press to one Harjivan Atnarsi, and the deed of sale was executed as of that date. On the 3rd of October the applicant repaired to the Resident Magistrate of Nadiad, and there cancelled his former declaration in respect of this press. On the 5th October, however, proceedings were taken against the applicant, and his prosecution was begun under Section 23 (1) of the Indian Press Act, 1910. That section provides for the punishment of any person who keeps in his possession a press for the printing of books or papers without making a deposit under Section 3 when required so to do. The District Magistrate, though he seems to be of opinion that it was a hard case as against the applicant, has convicted him of a technical offence and fined him Rs. 5 or in default has passed a sentence of one week's simple imprisonment.
2. The question is whether on these facts that conviction is , good. In my opinion it is not good. It seems to me that seeing that no limit of time was given to the applicant within which to make the deposit ordered, we must construe the notice Ext. 3 and Section 3 of the Act, under which that notice is issued, as meaning that the deposit ordered should be made within a reasonable time. If that is so, the only question which remains for consideration is whether the interval which elapsed between the afternoon of 28th September and the 3rd October, when the applicant relieved himself of liability, is to be reckoned an unreasonable time within which to find such a large sum of Rs. 3000 and to tender it to the District Magistrate of whose whereabouts at the time we have no certain knowledge. I am of opinion that this interval cannot be regarded as an unreasonable time, and in that view of the case I think that the applicant was not rightly convicted of having kept in his possession a press for the printing, of books or papers without making a deposit when required so to do. I would, therefore, making the rule absolute, reverse the conviction and order that the fine, if paid, be refunded to the applicant.
3. I concur. Broadly speaking I hold that the applicant had not behaved in any way that is unreasonable. He received the notice on the 28th September and by the 3rd October he had relieved himself of all responsibility in the matter of withdrawing his declaration and disposing of the press to another person. There is nothing in the Act of 1910 to suggest that it should be interpreted or enforced in such a way as to either compel a person to act with a rapidity that it is unreasonable to expect or in default of his so doing to be subjected to a penalty. Therefore I think the Magistrate is wrong and that his order ought to be set aside.