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Babu Vs. Rex. - Court Judgment

LegalCrystal Citation
SubjectCriminal
CourtAllahabad
Decided On
Judge
Reported in1949CriLJ944
AppellantBabu
RespondentRex.
Excerpt:
.....constituted under section 8 of the act cannot entertain appeals filed under section 9 by the employees working in schools which are established and administered by the cantonment board. [deolali cantonment board v usha devidas dongre, 1993 mah.lj 74; 1993 lab ic 1858 overruled]. - 4. the primary question before the learned magistrate was whether the appellant bad applied a match to his thatch and thereby burnt it. i have gone through the statements of these witnesses and i find no ground for disagreeing with the view taken by the learned magistrate and i think that he was perfectly right in coming to the conclusion that the appellant had burnt his thatch......had burnt his thatch. this undoubtedly made him answerable to a charge under section 436, penal code.5. it was argued by the learned counsel for the appellant that the thatch burnt by the latter not being a 'dwelling house', within the meaning of the said section, but being used only as a place for keeping the appellant's horse, as deposed to by lala ram, p. w. 1, no offence under that section could be said to have been committed. lala ram had also stated that the appellant kept no property at the time under the thatoh. but this oircumstanoe alone could not, in my opinion, take the case out of the purview of section 436, penal code. the words 'any building' in that section may not necessarily refer to the building primarily destroyed by the accused. they may cover any other.....
Judgment:

Mushtaq Ahmad, J.

1. Babu appeals against his conviction under s, 436, Penal Code read with Sections 6 and 18, U. P. Act, XXlV [24] of 1947 and sentence of seven years' rigorous imprisonment together with a fine of Bs. too and six stripes passed by a first class Magistrate of Mathura.

2. The occurrence, which was the subject of the charge, had taken place at 9-45, on the morning of 27th October 1947, in Qasba Baldeo, one furlong from police station Baldeo. That was that the appellant had set fire to a fallen thatch belonging to himself which was resting on a wall over chabutra, five paces from his own residential be use.

3. Lala Earn, p. w. 1, is saia to have sent a written slip to Pandit Mani Bhushan, the President of the local Congress Committee, who was also an Emergency Magistrate regarding tbis occurrence, and the latter then sent an information about it to the Sub-Inspector, Ch. Rudra Datt Tyagi, who, in his turn, lodged a report at the police station.

4. The primary question before the learned Magistrate was whether the appellant bad applied a match to his thatch and thereby burnt it. The prosecution relied on the evidence of three eye-witnesses, Lala Earn, p. w. I, Bankey Lai, J?. w. a andHar Praaad, p. w. 3, and the learned Magistrate having believed that evidence, came to the conclusion that the appellant had set fire to his thatoh. I have gone through the statements of these witnesses and I find no ground for disagreeing with the view taken by the learned Magistrate and I think that he was perfectly right in coming to the conclusion that the appellant had burnt his thatch. This undoubtedly made him answerable to a charge under Section 436, Penal Code.

5. It was argued by the learned Counsel for the appellant that the thatch burnt by the latter not being a 'dwelling house', within the meaning of the said section, but being used only as a place for keeping the appellant's horse, as deposed to by Lala Ram, p. W. 1, no offence under that section could be said to have been committed. Lala Ram had also stated that the appellant kept no property at the time under the thatoh. But this oircumstanoe alone could not, in my opinion, take the case out of the purview of Section 436, Penal Code. The words 'any building' in that section may not necessarily refer to the building primarily destroyed by the accused. They may cover any other building close by in regard to which there might have been an intention in the mind of the accused to destroy the same. In the present case the learned Magistrate has pointed out that there were several Hindu houses round about the appellant's thatch, there being also, no doubt, his own residential house, only five paces away from it. It is true that if he had any intention, by burning his own thatoh, todestory the houses of the Hindu neighbours, he must be oredited with an intention to destroy his own houee also which prima facie would not be likely. But apart from any question of intention, if the accused knew that he was likely, by hifl act, to destroy any neighbouring houses, an offence under Section 436, Penal Code would be oomplete. In the present case, as I have said, there being other houses closeby, the accused must be held to have known that his act of burning his own thatch was likely to destroy those other houses also, although, fortunately, such a contingency in the present case never came. I, therefore, hold that the accused was guilty under Section 436, Penal Code.

6. The appellant's conviction, however, under fis. 6 and 18, U. P. Aofc No. xxiv [24] of 1947 not, in my opinion, legally warranted. The S0-Or, L. J, 119 & 120 learned Magistrate applied those sections on the solitary ground that the city of Mathura had been declared on 9th September 1947, to be a communally disturbed area for a period of three months, the ooourrance itself taking place during the currency of that period. In the Full Bench case of Shubrat Shah v. Bex, 1948 A. l. J. 388 : (A. I. B) (86) 1949 ALL. 75:49 Or. L. J. 683 P. B.), however, the following observation was made:.it does not follow that because an area has been declared to be a communally disturbed area (that) any offence which is subsequently committed in that area is neoeBsasily committed 'in the course of or aria-ing out of or due to' any communal disturbance for there may at the time be none. It is further clear that , the apprehension of a future disturbance is not sufficient to attract the provisions of S, 6 of the Ordinance. It was faintly suggested in argument that the Act. of the appellant itself constituted 'communal activity,' and as such was sufficient to attract the provisions of S, 6. We think that there is no substance in this suggestion, for, in our opinion, the Act. of an isolated individual oannot in any circumstance be the activity of a 'community or class of persons' within the definition of 'communal' aotivity in Section 2(3) of the Ordinance.

7. Apart from a stray remark in the judgment of the learned Magistrate that

the intention of the accused for this wilful oommlsBion of arson before his leaving his be use can be nothing but in the coarse of a communal aotivity,

there was no material on the record throwing out the least suggestion that there had been or was at the time any communal activity or excitement in the town to which the appellant's action could be made to relate. The only circumstance, which the prosecution had sought to bring on the record, was that the appellant, a few days before the occurrence, had sold his property in order to leave for Pakistan. The learned Magistrate on this point remarked that the accused had sold off lot of property 'seven or eight days before his committing this offence.' The only reference to the selling of any property by the appellant is in the statements of Bankey Lai, p. w. 2, and Yad Ram, p. w. 6, who, no doubt, said that the appellant had sold his property. I have not been told how the learned Magistrate, only on this evidence, was justified in using the expression 'lot of property,' unless it was figment of his own imagination.

8. Another circumstance which has been suggested as lending support to the subsistence of communal activity at the time at Mathura was that some Mohammadans used to come to the appellant. I, for my pArticle could not make out this argument. I oannot conceive how the mere f Act. of some people going to a member of their own community can be taken to have any relevant bearing on the question of such activity m a particular locality and at a particular time.

9. There being thus no materials before the Magistrate leading to a oonolusion of the exia- tence of a communal aotivity in the town on the date of the occurrence, he, in my opinion, entirely misled himself by applying the provisions of the U. P. Act XXIV [24] of 1947 in the present case. It is, no doubt, that he applied those provisions on the solitary ground that the area had already been declared as a communally disturbed area, a basis which has now been held by the Pull Bench decision, referred to above, as legally insufficient. The appellant, therefore, could not, in my opinion, be convicted under Sections 6 and 18 of the Act.

10. The question now is what course I should adopt. The Magistrate himself had the right to convict the appellant within the provisions of Act XXIV [24] of 1947 and, after the amendment of B. 18, also impose on him the maximum sentence provided by B. 486, Penal Code. The appellant has already been in jail since the date of the occurrence, when he was arrested, up to the present day, his conviction by the Magistrate being dated 17th February 1948. He has thus been in jail for about 19 months now. In the circumstances, I do not consider it desirable to order the commitment of the appellant to the Court of session. A question similar to this arose before a Full Bench in the case of Bex v. Itwari : AIR1948All369 and their Lordships, in view of the sentence already suffered by the accused, refused to order his retrial.

11. I, therefore, allow this appeal in so far as the appellant's conviction under Sections 6 and 18, U. P. Act xxiv [24] of 1947 is concerned, and maintain his conviction only under Section 456, Penal Code reducing the term of imprisonment to the period already undergone, and, at the same time, setting aside the sentence of fine and of stripes imposed by the learned Magistrate. The fine, if paid, shall be refunded.

12. The appellant shall be released forthwith, unless required in any other connection.


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