1. In this case I am unable to accept the view of the Sessions Judge. One important point of law arises. The Sessions Judge definitely holds that the evidence does not constitute an offence under Section 504, Indian Penal Code and he refers the case to the High Court for the conviction to be set aside on this ground. It is on this ground that I disagree with him. The Government Advocate was quite right in pointing out that it raises an important question. In my opinion whatever the previous provocation may be, a man who pulls the beard of a Mohammedan in the public street, intentionally insults him and thereby causes him provocation, knowing that such provocation is likely to cause the victim to break the public peace. Human nature being what it is, nothing is more likely than that a self-respecting person, who has his beard pulled, or his nose pulled, or is submitted to any other painful and humiliating treatment in public, should lose his temper and attempt to strike his assailant or retaliate. Indeed the accused in this case admitted to me during the argument in answer to my question that it was very likely to happen.
2. This would be sufficient to dispose of the ease; but the learned Judge has written an order in which he points out that the applicant, Bhagwan Das, may have some real grievance. I do not propose to discuss these matters in detail. But it does happen that he wanted to examine the District Magistrate of Meerut as a witness in his own defence in order to establish an alibi, and that some effort was made to examine him by commission. Somehow or other he has not been examined and the accused has been deprived of a right which he had by law. On this ground I am bound to quash the conviction. In a case of any public importance I should direct a retrial, but, in my opinion, no public interest will be served by allowing the case to be tried again.
3. My order, therefore, is that the conviction be set aside, and the fine, if paid, repaid to the accused, and that all further proceedings be stayed.