John Beaumont, Kt., C.J.
1. These are five appeals by five accused against their conviction by the Sessions Judge, Dharwar, for dacoity. The accused have not appeared on the appeal, but with the assistance of the learned Government Pleader we have been through the evidence, and the case raises a question of principle which is discussed by the learned Sessions Judge in his judgment. The evidence against all the accused consisted, in the first place, of the evidence of an approver, and of accused No. 1 who pleaded guilty, was convicted, and sentenced, and then put into the witness box, Those two persons are obviously accomplices. The question of principle which arises is whether their evidence can be safely accepted without any corroboration. The learned Sessions Judge has discussed Section 133, and Section 114, ill (b), of the Indian Evidence Act, and various authorities, and he comes to the conclusion that he can in this case act on the uncorroborated evidence of the accomplices. He points out that there is no serious allegationof enmity between the witnesses and the accused, some of whom were from a different village, and that in the case of accused No. 1 he had already been sentenced before his evidence was given, and therefore had no hope of pardon and no motive for saying what was untrue. No doubt there is force in what the learned Sessions Judge says, but in my view this Court has laid down as a definite rule of prudence that the evidence of an accomplice should not be acted upon unless it is corroborated as against the particular accused in material respects, and I think it is better to follow that rule, A man in the position of accused No. 1 may have disclosed the evidence he was prepared to give before he was sentenced, and even after sentence he may have had in mind that if he helped the prosecution his sentence might be reduced. In any case I think the Courts in this country have laid it down that the evidence of an accomplice is not such as should be acted upon unless corroborated, and I think we ought to follow that rule.
2 The rest of the judgment is not material to this report.