1. The appellants are Lakhan Singh, Chhotey and Tulshi. They have been sentenced for an offence of dacoity under Section 395, I.P.C.: Tulshi to rigorous imprisonment for a period of two years and Lakhan Singh and Chhotey to rigorous imprisonment for a period of one year each. They have appealed from jail and the local Government has made an application to us for the enhancement of the sentences passed upon them. The appellants are not represented in their appeal, but they have briefed counsel to oppose on their behalf the application made in revision. The offence was committed in the town of Nagina in the house of a woman called Mt. Allah Bachai. She was living alone with her two daughters Mt. Rashidan and Mt. Hamidan, girls of 15 and 12 respectively. She was awakened at night by a man catching her throat and asking her to tell him where her property was. She called for help and her two daughters tried to protect her. One of them received a blow on the head with a lathi and the other was injured slightly with a knife. All three women shouted and a number of neighbours came to their assistance. When this happened the dacoits ran away. It is explained that there were five persons participating in the crime.
2. A head constable and two constables were passing outside the house at the time on their rounds. They saw two men running away. The head constable sent the constables in pursuit and himself entered the house with a number of neighbours who had assembled. The appellant Lakhan Singh had hidden in the latrine and he was arrested on the spot. The constables came up with the two men whom they were chasing. They hit at one of them with a lathi and caused him a slight injury but he managed to escape through a grove. The other man who was running away was seized by two men who were coming In the opposite direction. He is the appellant Tulshi. The Sub-Inspector heard the name of the appellant Chhotey in the course of his investigation and he succeeded in arresting him soon after in the house of Tulshi. It was found that he had an injury on his person which might have been caused by the constables when they were trying to catch him. The defence of Lakhan Singh is that he was not arrested in the house at all, but we see no reason to disbelieve the evidence of a number of witnesses who depose to his arrest and who have no reason for implicating him falsely. Similarly we have no reason for doubting the evidence of the witnesses who saw Tulshi running, away from the scene of the crime and who say that he was caught by the constables and the two men whom we have already mentioned. He says that he was arrested at his own house, but we do not believe his story and we have no doubt that he is guilty. There is evidence that he was one of the persons concerned in the dacoity apart from the evidence that he was seen running away and was caught. The third appellant Chhotey was identified by a number of persons as having taken part in the dacoity. His story that he was arrested at the house of a respectable gentleman in whose service he was is not supported by any evidence. He made contradictory statements saying at one time that he was in the house of his employer and at another that he was in the house of a doctor where his employer had left him. Neither of these gentlemen have come forward to give evidence on his behalf. The medical evidence shows that he was injured. He says that the injuries were caused after his arrest because the police beat him. We think that this is an improbable story and we are unable to accept it. We have no doubt that the evidence of the witnesses for the prosecution is reliable and that this man was concerned in, the crime. The appeals must be dismissed. We find it difficult to understand how the learned Sessions Judge-came to pass the light sentences which he has passed. It has been argued on behalf of the appellants that this was only a technical dacoity. We cannot agree. There is evidence that there were five men concerned. They went into (apartments occupied by three defenceless women with the intention of committing (robbery. They caught Mt. Allah Bachai by the throat and wounded the other two girls of 15 and 12 years of age. It is true that they did not succeed in their object of committing theft, but that was due to the fact that the neighbours were prepared immediately to come to the assistance of the women. We consider that this was a very serious crime indeed.
3. The man Tulshi has admitted that he was sentenced to imprisonment for burglary in the year 1923 and for house-breaking by night in the year 1928. Then in the year 1929 he was bound over under Section 109, Criminal P.C., because he was, we presume, unable to account for his presence in some place or was suspected of concealing his presence in order to commit a crime. Again in the year 1931 he was bound over for a year tinder Section 110, Criminal P.C., probably because he was a habitual housebreaker and robber. He is an incorrigible criminal and undoubtedly he should receive a very severe sentence. It appears that he had decided to embark upon a career of more serious and violent crimes. The other two men, Lakhan Singh and Chhotey, did not appear to have been convicted on any previous occasion and it is argued on their behalf that they are 24 and 20 years of age respectively. We think however that this is no reason for taking a very lenient view of their conduct. Dacoity is a most serious crime which it is difficult to detect in the sense of bringing home the offence to the culprits and it is an offence which gives rise to a great deal of misery. We consider that in ordinary circumstances a sentence of rigorous imprisonment for a period of seven years is the least sentence which should be passed. We dismiss the appeals of the appellants Tulshi, Lakhan Singh and Chhotey. We enhance the sentences passed upon them by the learned Sessions Judge. We sentence Tulshi to rigorous imprisonment for a period of 10 years and we sentence Lakhan Singh and Chhotey to rigorous imprisonment for a period of seven years each. The sentences are passed under Section 395, I.P.C.