Chandra Reddy, J.
1. The three petitioners were put up for trial for offences under Sections 326, 325 and 323 I.P.C., before the Addl. 1st Class Magistrate, Vizianagaram, in respect of an occurrence that took place on 16-11-1953. The case against them was this - They took a lease of some lands from P.Ws. 1 and 10 some time before 1953. After the expiry of the lease they delivered the lands to the lessors i.e. several months before the alleged offence.
While so, when one day P.Ws. 1 and 10 were going to their lands to raise casuarina plantations, the three accused way-laid them and inflict, ed several wounds on P.Ws. 1, 3, 4, and 5. The victims immediately went to the Police Station at Sabbavaram at about 10 a.m. The Sub-Inspector of Police in charge of the Station took them to the hospital without recording any statements as he was anxious that the wounds should be dressed first.
P.Ws. 7 and 8 who were coming in the company of P.Ws. 1, 3, 4 and 5 witnessed the occurrence, went into the village, and at about 4 a.m. gave a complaint to the village munsiff. The latter sent the crime report based on this to police station. The usual investigation followed 'and ultimately a charge-sheet was laid against the three accused for offences under Sections 326, 325 and 323 I.P.C.
2. The prosecution led some oral evidence. Believing it, the trial Magistrate convicted the first accused under Section 326, I.P.C, and sentenced him to six months rigorous imprisonment, the second accused under Section 325 and sentenced to undergo rigorous imprisonment for two months, and the 3rd accused under Section 323 and sentenced him to pay a fine of Rs. 60/-.
On appeal, the conviction of A-1 under Section 326 was altered into one under Section 334, I.P.C. and the sentence reduced to two months rigorous imprisonment. In other respects, the judgment of the trial Court was confirmed.
3. In this petition, the main point urged by Miss T. Prasanna Kumari is that the Courts below erred in acting on the report sent by the village-munsiff as the P.I.R. According to her, the material on record establishes that the Sub-Inspector of Police was given information by one of the injured persons about this crime.
That being so, the subsequent report cannot be regarded as the first information report and comes within the mischief of Section 162, Criminal P.C. There is substance in this contention. Though, in the chief-examination, the Sub-Inspector stated that the moment he saw the accused his first impulse was to take them to the hospital; he had to admit in cross-examination that information of the offence was given to him by one of the victims.
In other words, he had information relating to the commission of a cognizable offence. Does the fact that he failed to perform the duty, en., joined by Section 154, Criminal P.C, of reducing it to writing make the subsequent information given by one of the alleged eye-witnesses the first information report? In my opinion, it does not. Section 154, Criminal P.C recites:
Every information relating to the commission of a cognizable offence, if given orally to an officer-in-charge of a police station, shall be reduced to writing by him or under his direction and be read over to the informant: and every such Information, whether given in writing or reduced to writing as aforesaid, shall be signed by the person giving it, and the substance thereof shall be entered in a book to be kept by such officer in such form as the State Government may prescribe in this behalf.
It is seen that the officer in charge of the police; Station is under an obligation to record the Information that he gets in relation to the commission of a cognizable offence and that would be treated as the first information report upon which the investigation should start.
Does it entitle the concerned officer to nullify the effect of this section by not reducing, the statement to writing and to treat the subsequent information as the first information report?
I do not think that by committing a breach of the mandatory provision of law i.e., by omitting to reduce the information to writing he can entertain subsequent statements as coming under Section 154, Criminal P.C. If the information given by one of the wounded persons constitutes the F.I.R. within the purview of Section 154, Criminal P.C., the subsequent statement falls within the mischief of Section 162, Criminal P.C, and Ex. P 1 belongs to that category.
For this reason, this document has to be excluded from consideration. The police cannot use this for corroborating the persons that made the statement. If this goes, there is no material which discloses the names of the assailants till we come to the stage of trial, which, I am told, commenced on 27-7-'54. In such circumstances I do not think it is possible to base a conviction upon the disclosure of names of offenders at such a late stage.
It may be mentioned that both the Courts below proceeded on the assumption that Ex. P-1 was the first information report and this, to a great extent, coloured their judgment. It follows that the conviction cannot be sustained.
4. It has also to be remarked that the prosecution case reads very artificial. It is unlikely that having delivered the properties peacefully the accused should have conceived the idea of attacking the lessors several months thereafter. No immediate motive for the offence is alleged. This means that the prosecution has not come out with a true story.
Something more than what has emerged from the prosecution evidence must have happened. In these circumstances, the petition is allowed and the petitioners are acquitted and they are directed to be set at liberty. Their bail-bonds will be cancelled.