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Emperor Vs. Sohrab Palanji Kapadia - Court Judgment

LegalCrystal Citation
SubjectCriminal
CourtMumbai
Decided On
Case NumberCriminal Appeal No. 561 of 1930
Judge
Reported in(1931)33BOMLR314
AppellantEmperor
RespondentSohrab Palanji Kapadia
DispositionAppeal dismissed
Excerpt:
.....association with the co-operation of such association and that they do not cover acts which may assist the operations of the association but which are done without any co-operation of the..........of the meeting and then it referred to a women's meeting and below this notice was printed the police commissioner's ban which was a ban issued by the commissioner of police pointing out that the meeting was prohibited and that if the public in defiance of the order attempted to hold the meeting necessary steps would be taken to disperse it.2. now, two points have been taken by mr. desai on behalf of the accused. he says, first of all, that on the true construction of section 17(1) of the criminal law amendment act the action of the accused was not unlawful. that section provides that whoever is a member of an unlawful association or takes part in meetings of any such association or contributes or receives or solicits any contribution for the purpose of any such association or in any.....
Judgment:

J.W.F. Beaumont, C.J.

1. This is an appeal by accused No. 2 from a conviction by the Presidency Magistrate, Third Court, under Section 17(1) of the Criminal Law Amendment Act XIV of 1908. The facts are not in dispute. Accused No. 2 in the printer and publisher of a daily newspaper known as the Bombay Chronicle, It is not disputed that the War Council of the Bombay Provincial Congress Committee is an association which has been declared unlawful by Government under the Criminal Law Amendment Act. On November 15, 1930, the accused printed and published in the issue of the Bombay Chronicle for that day a short notice that a meeting would be held under the auspices of the War Council in connection with what was called 'Jawahar day'. On November 16, 1930, a longer notice appeared in the Chronicle in which the War Council's programme was announced as under. It started by saying:--'Mass meeting at Chowpatty at 6 p. m. Standard Time'. Then the notice gave the programme of the meeting and then it referred to a women's meeting and below this notice was printed the Police Commissioner's ban which was a ban issued by the Commissioner of Police pointing out that the meeting was prohibited and that if the public in defiance of the order attempted to hold the meeting necessary steps would be taken to disperse it.

2. Now, two points have been taken by Mr. Desai on behalf of the accused. He says, first of all, that on the true construction of Section 17(1) of the Criminal Law Amendment Act the action of the accused was not unlawful. That section provides that whoever is a member of an unlawful association or takes part in meetings of any such association or contributes or receives or solicits any contribution for the purpose of any such association or in any way assists the operations of any such association shall be punished with imprisonment for a term which may extend to six months or with fine or with both. The words under which the accused was convicted are the words 'in any way assists the operations of any such association'. Mr. Desai says that those words, which are perfectly general and which he admits cannot be controlled by the preceding words, nevertheless must have some limitation put upon them, and he suggests that they must be limited to acts which assist the operations of such association with the co-operation of such association and that they do not cover acts which may assist the operations of the association but which are done without any co-operation of the association. He supports his argument by putting to us many ingenious hypothetical cases. I am afraid that when at the bar I have employed that kind of argument too often to feel embarrassed with it as a Judge. When the hypothetical cases arise--and I understand some of them will arise shortly--I will endeavour to deal with them, but at the moment I only propose to deal with the facts of the case before us, and I do not see any ground for limiting the words 'in any way assists the operations of any such association' in the manner suggested.

3. Then Mr. Desai's second point is that the notice in this case did not assist the operations of the War Council because side by side with the publication of the notice of the meeting there appeared the publication of the ban on the meeting, and he says that anybody reading the two notices together would no doubt see that the meeting was proposed to be held at Chowpatty at 6 p.m. but he would also see that the meeting was prohibited by the Police Commissioner and that it must be presumed that people would obey the law and not attend the meeting. A sufficient answer to that is that the notice in fact goes much further in affording information than does the statement in the ban of the Commissioner of Police. The notice gives the place of the meeting and the time of the meeting, two very material facts which are omitted from the statement contained in the Police Commissioner's ban, and it seems to me quite impossible to say that a notice in a paper circulating in Bombay stating that a meeting is to take place and giving the time and place of the meeting does anything but assist the promoters of the meeting. It seems to me plain that this notice must have assisted the promoters of the meeting. 1 think, therefore, that the conviction was right and must be upheld and the appeal dismissed. Order accordingly.

Murphy, J.

4. The question in this appeal is a very simple one. The relevant section of Act XIV of 1908 brings within the case whoever in any way assists the operations of an association which has been notified as unlawful. The War Council was declared unlawful by a notification of the Government of Bombay and the programme to be carried out on November 16, 1930, had been prohibited by the Commissioner of Police. Was the announcements of the proposed meeting in the Bombay Chronicle of the November 15 and 16, 1930, by way of assistance to the unlawful association is the only question in this case? I think it is clear that it was, being in fact a furtherance of its own efforts at advertising the proposed meeting, by beat of drum and pavement writing, as appears from the evidence in the case. Neither does it appear to me that the publication of the Commissioner of Police's prohibition on the same page carries Mr. Dasai's arguments any further, as has been pointed out by the learned Chief Justice. I agree, therefore, that the conviction and sentence must be confirmed, and the appeal dismissed.


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