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Queen-empress Vs. Mukundi Lal - Court Judgment

LegalCrystal Citation
SubjectCriminal
CourtAllahabad High Court
Decided On
Judge
Reported in(1899)ILR21All189
AppellantQueen-empress
RespondentMukundi Lal
Excerpt:
.....magistrates should set out under the column reserved for the purpose so much of the reasons that have influenced them as to satisfy the accused that the magistrate has considered each of the ingredients necessary in law for the conviction to which the magistrate has proceeded, and that, while this should be recorded with brevity, the brevity should not be such as to tend to obscurity......this case after carefully looking into the whole record i am not satisfie on the magistrate's own showing that, so far as the applicant is concerned, any offence beyond that provided for by section 4 has been established. i alter the conviction to a conviction for being found in a gambling house gambling, and, under section 4 of act no. ill of 1867, direct that mukundi lal pay a fine of rs. 25, and that the fine be recovered from him in the manner prescribed by section 388 of the code of criminal procedure. the conviction and sentence imposed by the magistrate are set aside.
Judgment:

Knox, J.

1. This is an appeal presented by one Mukundi Lal. Mukundi Lal has been convicted of keeping a common gambling house, and, so the Magistrate's order runs, sentenced under the provisions of Section 4 of the Gambling Act, to rigorous imprisonment for one month. Section 4 of Act No. Ill of 1H67 prescribes no penalty for owning or keeping a gambling house; that offence is provided for by Section 3. The grounds on which I am asked to interfere are that the record of the summary trial does not comply with Section 263 of the Code of Criminal Procedure, and it is urged that the formalities laid down in that Section should be strictly observed for the protection of the public. Reference is here made to the entry required by law under Section 263, Clause (h), of the Code of Criminal Procedure under the head in the summary register relating to this case. The entry made is as follows: 'The Police made a raid on information received and caught all the accused gambling. The defence of Mukundi, Mannu, Kali Charan, Ballan and Gulzari Lal involves the absurdity that the police obtained a warrant to raid a house in which they could have no reason to suppose they would find anyone. I convict Mukundi of keeping a common gaming-house,--Section 4, Gambling Act. I convict the other six defendants of gaming in a common gaming house,--Section 3, Gambling Act.' Then follows the sentence. The contention is, that there is in the above passage no brief statement of the reasons given for the conviction. Certainly the letter of the law has been very scantily complied with, and it would have been well if the learned Magistrate, instead of recording his reasons in this telegraphic form, had expanded them so as to show that the reasons for conviction were founded upon evidence; that the Police had received information as required by the Act, and that acting on the information, they had made a raid and found all the accused gambling with whatever were the instruments found on the spot. I am satisfied, however, that this is what the Magistrate meant by the words he has used, and they show me that he had his mind concentrated upon the evidence so far as it went to the important points of information followed by authority as required by Section 5 of the Act, and to the fact there had been gambling with instruments of gambling as laid down in Section 4, and that, finding this proved, he had, looked to see whether the presumption thus created by law against the accused had been rebutted. The entry required by Clause (g) of Section 263 shows no rebutting plea and no proof of any such plea. At the same time the record made does show signs of want of full care and attention on the part of the learned Magistrate. He would never have convicted Mukundi Lal under Section 4 and the other six accused under Section 3 if he had observed due care. Even when his attention had been drawn to the fact that his proceedings were impugned, he does not seem to have discovered the error into which he had fallen. Again, the reasons given for the conviction afford no ground for the conclusion that Mukundi Lal was the owner or occupier of the house. The only reference to this very material question is to be found in the prisoner's plea, and that plea, without evidence to the contrary, had to be accepted as it stood. Mukundi Lal said that the house belonged to his father and that he lived in the house opposite. My attention was drawn to the rulings in the case of The Empress v. Punjab Singh (1881) I.L.R. 6 Cal. 579; Yacoob v. Adamson (1886) I.L.R. 13 Cal. 273; Queen-Empress v. Shidgauda (1893) I.L.R. 18 Bom. 97; The Queen v. Johrie Singh (1874) 22 W.R. Cr.R. 28; Empress v. Chotey Lal Weekly Notes 1882 p. 242; Empress v. Girwar Dial Weekly Notes 1883 p. 114; Empress v. Mohan Weekly Notes 1885 p. 213, and Empress v Lachman Weekly Notes 1886, p. 181.

2. The cases of this Court reported in the Weekly Notes for 1883, 1885, and 1886, do not set out the entries made by the Magistrate in the column given for the findings. So far as these cases are concerned, I may take it that there was no statement of the reasons given. The case in the Weekly Notes of 1882 was a case under Act No. X of 1872, and the report given does not show what was the offence of which the accused were convicted. This was certainly a fatal defect, and the reasons given as there stated do not show that any offence under any Section whatever had been committed. So far this case is clearly to be distinguished from the other cases of this Court which have been brought to my notice. I think it distinctly desirable that Magistrates should set out under the column reserved for the purpose so much of the reasons that have influenced them as to satisfy the accused that the Magistrate has considered each of the ingredients necessary in law for the conviction to which the Magistrate has proceeded, and that, while this should be recorded with brevity, the brevity should not be such as to tend to obscurity. There is no question in my mind from the language used by the Legislature that the intention was that in cases of this kind the procedure should be summary and the record should contain the barest particulars. I am therefore not prepared, if I find compliance with these requisites, to interfere and to lay down that facts and reasons should be set out at such length as to make the Court of revision more or less also a Court of appeal so far as facts are concerned. The law intended the procedure to be summary, and it is not for this Court to lay down otherwise than the law has directed. In a previous case, I pointed out that the responsibility thrown on Magistrates entrusted with summary powers is very great, and the responsibility of those who have to entrust them with such powers is equally great. Magistrates who are sufficiently alive to the responsibility entrusted to them will take care that the procedure and the record is not made mere summary than the law has laid down this case after carefully looking into the whole record I am not satisfie on the Magistrate's own showing that, so far as the applicant is concerned, any offence beyond that provided for by Section 4 has been established. I alter the conviction to a conviction for being found in a gambling house gambling, and, under Section 4 of Act No. Ill of 1867, direct that Mukundi Lal pay a fine of Rs. 25, and that the fine be recovered from him in the manner prescribed by Section 388 of the Code of Criminal Procedure. The conviction and sentence imposed by the Magistrate are set aside.


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