1. The three applicants before me have been convicted of an offence under Section 215, I.P.C. It appears that on the night of the 23rd and 24th April the complainant Hari Ram lost two of his bullocks and therefore on 21th April 1930, he informed the police in the following terms:
On Wednesday in the evening my four oxen wore fed and then tied to pegs. When everybody was asleep two of them began to fight with one another and broke the tying strings and strayed away.
2. It is clear therefore that when the bullocks were lost to the complainant, they were lost not by reason of the com-mission of any offence but by sheer accident. About six days later, on the 1st May there was a transaction between the complainant and the accused by which the accused took Rs. 50 and restored the bullocks to the complainant. I must accept the finding of the Court below that the money was demanded and received by the accused, but that alone is not sufficient to bring the conduct of :the accused within the purview of Section 215, 'I. P. C, On behalf of the applicants the case of In re Hemraj v. Emperor  11 Cr.L.J. 295 and the case of Emperor v. Mangu : AIR1928All22 has been cited. The Assistant Government Advocate has cited the case of Emperor v. Mukhtara A.I.R. 1924 All. 783. This last case is distinguishable because in that case there was a finding that the bullocks had been stolen. In the case before me there is no evidence that the bullocks were stolon. Indeed the first information report would go to show that the bullocks had simply strayed away and it is not fair to presume that later on somebody finding the bullocks committed an act of criminal misappropriation in the absence of any evidence on that point. There is also no evidence and no finding in this case that the accused know the offender, and therefore it is obvious that he cannot be said to have failed in his efforts to cause the offender to be apprehended and convicted of an offence which |he might have committed. Where the accused merely undertakes to endeavour to trace out and restore the lost property on payment of some remuneration then upon this circumstance alone the accused cannot be said to be guilty of an offence under Section 215, I. P. C , unless over and above that the prosecution proves that the property has been lost by the commission of an offence and that the accused is endeavouring to screen the offender from justice and is not using all means in his power to cause the offender to be apprehended and convicted of the offence which he has committed. I am therefore of the opinion that the conviction of the applicants is illegal.
3. I therefore set aside the conviction and sentence and direct that the fine or any portion of it if paid be refunded. The bail bonds should be discharged.