1. I am afraid that the Sessions Judge has not got a grip of the facts of the case and misunderstood them. There can be no doubt; that the patwari on 17th September 1928, gave a wrong copy of certain entries in the village records to the complainant Ram Nandan. The wrongness of the entries consisted in the patwari (appellant) not noting in the copy that besides Mt. Jhagri there were other tenants of the plots in suit. It is, however, important to remember that the complainant Ram Nandan had already purchased what he considered a fixed-rate tenancy from Mt. Jhagri prior to 17th September, that is, five days prior, on 12th September 1928. It cannot, therefore, be said that the wrong copy induced him to spend money in making the purchase.
2. On 24th September he sued not only Mt. Jhagri but the others whose names appeared in the records for a declaration that the others were not tenants of the land. This suit was brought for a declaration under Section 123, Tenancy Act of 1926. His suit was dismissed on the ground that Mt. Jhagri was not a fixed-rate tenant and had no right of transfer. The incorrect copy was filed by the complainant in the suit which he filed on 24th September. He, however, refused to summon the patwari and on 19th November made a statement to the revenue Court that the patwari be not summoned as he was an enemy. Subsequently the patwari was summoned by the defendant Mangal of that suit and then it was discovered that Mangal was also a tenant of the land. I have not the slightest doubt that the patwari knowingly made a false copy, but there are further points to be considered whether the false copy was made with the connivance of Ram Nandan himself and whether there could have been any intention on the part of the patwari to cause harm to Ram Nandan. After reading the evidence I have come to the conclusion that the patwari is a blackguard. He has, fortunately for him, escaped the clutches of the criminal law. It is certain that Ram Nandan to bolster up his claim of a declaration that Mangal was not a tenant induced the patwari to give a false copy, and the patwari, presumably for consideration, did so. Ram Nandan hoped that the original would not be sent for and actually went to the length of refusing to summon the patwari. I cannot possibly believe that after obtaining the copy he could have feared that the patwari would depose against the copy, if in reality he had not known that the copy was falsely prepared. Mangal, however, insisted on summoning the patwari, and the patwari had not the courage in Court to depose falsely about the entries in his papers. The trick to be played on Mangal was by collusion between Ram Nandan and the patwari to avoid the summoning of the original papers. Possibly Ram Nandan hoped that even if the patwari was summoned he would favour his cause and make a false deposition. When the patwari failed to oblige him to that extreme extent Ram Nandan filed a complaint. As I often observed in these cases it is unfortunate that a private person can prosecute a patwari without any departmental inquiry being made on the subject. These prosecutions have recently been so frequent that a suggestion may be made that some kind of protection may be given to these revenue officials by making a departmental inquiry necessary before a criminal prosecution is launched. Anyone acquainted with revenue law like a qanungo or a tahsildar would have discovered at once that Ram Nandan and the patwari were colluding at first and that Ram Nandan knew well that the copy which he obtained was a false copy.
3. The Judge does not seem to have read the charge framed against the patwari. The charge was that he gave wrong copy with the intention of inducing Ram Nandan to file a suit, and thereby incur expense which would cause him harm in money. This is the only possible harm which the patwari may have contemplated. The harm is far too remote. Even if the patwari was an enemy it would hardly be worth his while to damage Ram Nandan by inducing him to bring a suit in which he was sure not to succeed. I cannot believe that such harm would be contemplated by one enemy for another. The Judge, however, takes a totally different view. What he says is:
It is thus clear that the accused gave an incorrect copy to the mukhtar
(meaning the complainant)
with a view that he would thereby cause injury to the complainant, inasmuch as the mukhtar lost his case for the declaration that Mangal and others were no tenants of the plots.
4. The harm intended was, according to the Sessions Judge, that the complainant may lose his suit. It is obvious that the complainant did not lose his suit because of the wrong copy, and the wrong copy, therefore, did not harm the complainant in that manner.
5. It is not necessary to examine the false defence of the patwari that the wrong copy was extorted from him. It may, however, be pointed out to the Sessions Judge that he took no trouble to obtain from Ram Nandan's own mouth what the harm was which he suffered by the wrong copy. A judicial officer who had understood the case from the commencement would have made an inquiry as to how when Ram Nandan got a wrong copy in which the interest of Mangal was not mentioned, he happened to sue Mangal seven days later for a declaration. It is my belief that during trials Sessions Judges rely far too much on a badly instructed Government Pleader or on the evidence of the prosecution shaping itself as best lit may. It is much to be desired that a Sessions Judge should start his interest in a case at the very beginning of the trial and not when the time comes to write or dictate the judgment. First of all the ingredients of an offence ought to be clearly grasped and then attempts made continuously to discover whether the evidence of the complainant and that of the prosecution witnesses did satisfy those ingredients or not. When a consideration of the facts of the case and of their applicability to a particular section of the law are left to the end, a trial is bound to suffer and often a decision is arrived at in conflict with law. I set aside the conviction and sentence of Suraj Prasad and order his bail bond to be cancelled.