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State of Uttar Pradesh Vs. Asha Nand Kurmi - Court Judgment

LegalCrystal Citation
SubjectCriminal
CourtAllahabad High Court
Decided On
Judge
Reported in1962CriLJ623
AppellantState of Uttar Pradesh
RespondentAsha Nand Kurmi
Excerpt:
.....therefore be presumed that the legislature accepted the judicial construction of the expression 'police report' as used in the code for reports of offence made by the police, and that where it left the expression used in a similar context untouched, it intended the expression to continue to bear the meaning which had been put upon it by the courts not only did the legislature not make any change in the expression 'police report',when amending the code in 1923, at any place other than section 190(1)(b) but when it amended the code again in 1955, it itself used the same expression in enacting the new sections 207 207a, 251 and 251a and in amending sections 208 and 252. in those circumstances, it must equally be presumed that in the amendments made by it in (1955, the legislature used the..........officer, nasirabad. he examined witnesses, verified the site-plan ext. ka-s and then submitted a police report. after examination of the evidence, the learned sub-divisional magistrate found asha nand guilty and convicted him under section 7 of the essential commodities act, 1955, read with section 3 of the paddy (restriction on movement) order, 1958, and sentenced him to a fine of rs. 120/- with two months' rigorous imprisonment in default against his conviction and sentence asha nand preferred an appeal. the appeal came up for hearing before the learned sessions judge, rae bareli.the learned sessions judge was of opinion that there was no proper complaint before the trial magistrate as is required by section 11 of the essential commodities act, 1955 and, therefore, following the.....
Judgment:

B.N. Nigam, J.

1. Asha Nand was tried on a charge under Section 3 of the Paddy (Restriction on Movement Order, 1938 read With Section 7 of the Essential Commodities Act, 1955 for attempting to move three bags of paddy weighing 6 maunds and 15 seen from Rae Bareli district to Sultanpur district without any permit or authority on 11th April, 1959, at 3.30 a.m.

2. It appears that P.W. 3 Muhammad Idris, Head Constable Mela Dalmau was posted at police out-post Jains. He was told by an informer that about 2 a.m. while patrolling at night that some carts were going with paddy to Sultanpur district. Muhammad Idris thereupon went to the border, along with some witnesses and he saw nine bullock carts near the border. Ho stopped them. One of these carts belonged to the respondent Asha Nand. On search three bags of paddy were recovered from Inside the bhoosa. The recovery memo Ext. Ka-3 was prepared and was signed by witnesses. Site-plan Ext. Ka-3 was also prepared The accused and paddy were sent to police station Nasirabad and an entry in the general diary was made. Thereupon investigation was made by PW$ Balwant Singh, Station Officer, Nasirabad. He examined witnesses, verified the site-plan Ext. Ka-S and then submitted a police report. After examination of the evidence, the learned Sub-divisional Magistrate found Asha Nand guilty and convicted him under Section 7 of the Essential Commodities Act, 1955, read with Section 3 of the Paddy (Restriction on Movement) Order, 1958, and sentenced him to a fine of Rs. 120/- with two months' rigorous imprisonment in default Against his conviction and sentence Asha Nand preferred an appeal. The appeal came up for hearing before the learned Sessions Judge, Rae Bareli.

The learned Sessions Judge was of opinion that there was no proper complaint before the trial Magistrate as is required by Section 11 of the Essential Commodities Act, 1955 and, therefore, following the decision of the Calcutta High Court in A.P. Misra v. The State : AIR1958Cal612 , he acquitted Asha Nand. Against that order of acquittal, the State has come up in appeal. We have heard the learned Counsel for the State as well as the learned Counsel for the respondent Asha Nand. We have been addressed at some length as to the report that should be submitted to the Magistrate in order to comply with the provisions of Section It of the Essential Commodities Act, 1955. Section 11 reads:

No court shall take cognisance of any offence punishable under this Act except on a report writing of the facts constituting such offence made by a person who In a public servant as defined is Section 21 of the Indian Penal Code.

In our opinion the section only requires that a Court should before taking cognizance of an offence punishable under the Essential Commodities Act, 1955, have before it-(1) a report to writing; (2) the report should contain the facts constituting such offence and (3) should have been made by a person who is a public servant as defined under Section 21 of the Indian Penal Code, In the particular case the learned Trial Magistrate had before him a report made by a police officer, that is the Station Officer, Nasirabad, purporting to be a report under Section 173 of the Code of Criminal Procedure. The contention of the learned Counsel for the respondent is that a report under Section 173 of the Code of Criminal Procedure is submitted only as a result of an investigation in a cognizable case or when investigation hag been specially ordered in a non-cognizable case. The argument of the learned Counsel, as we understand it, is that since an offence in this case is non-cognizable and no investigation had been specially ordered, the Station Officer, Nasirabad had no jurisdiction to hold an investigation Or to submit a report under Section 173 of the Code of Criminal Procedure. It is further urged that no cognizance could be taken by any Court in pursuance of any such report. We are unable to agree with the learned Counsel, We do not disagree with him so far as his contention that the offence was non-cognizable and could not be investigated into by a police officer is concerned.

We are, however, of opinion that the invalidity of the investigation does not make the final report one not envisaged under Section 11 of the Essential Commodities Act, 1955. That Act does not require that the report should have been made by a public servant after investigation. Whether or not the investigation was justified or even improper makes no difference to the quality of the report so far as its fitness as a report envisaged under Section 11 of the Essential Commodities Act, 1955 is concerned There is no requirement that the report should have been made as a result of a, proper or even legal investigation. This invalidity of the investigation preceding the report will not affect its validity under Section 11 of the Essential Commodities Act, 1955. The learned Counsel for the respondent has referred us to Premchand Khetry v. The State : AIR1958Cal213 . That case did not consider the question that is before us. What was then laid down was that the expression 'police report' as used in the Code of Criminal Procedure for reports of offences made by the police carried a special meaning. After considering the amendment of 1923 and the fact that certain provisions of Sections 117 and 173 of the Code had not been so amended their Lordships laid down:

It must therefore be presumed that the Legislature accepted the judicial construction of the expression 'police report' as used in the Code for reports of offence made by the police, and that where it left the expression used in a similar context untouched, it intended the expression to continue to bear the meaning which had been put upon it by the Courts Not only did the Legislature not make any change in the expression 'police report', when amending the Code in 1923, at any place other than Section 190(1)(b) but when it amended the Code again in 1955, it itself used the same expression in enacting the new Sections 207 207A, 251 and 251A and in amending Sections 208 and 252. In those circumstances, it must equally be presumed that in the amendments made by it in (1955, the Legislature used the expression 'police report' in the sense in which it bad been construed to bear in the old Section 190(1)(b).

We are not here concerned with the meaning of the expression 'police report. We are only concerned with the expression 'report by a public servant'. Section 173 of the Code of Criminal Procedure clearly shows that what is popularly called a charge-sheet is only a report in the prescribed form setting forth certain particulars to a Magistrate empowered to take cognizance of the offence on a police report. Thus the charge-sheet is a report. Similarly Section 190(1)(b) mentions:

upon a report in writing of such facts made by any police-officer.

Thus what is called a charge-sheet in popular language In a report though it is a report submitted by a police-officer. We, therefore, do not see why a report under Section 173 or on the form prescribed under Section 173 be not considered a report as required under Section 11 of the Essential Commodities Act, 1955.

3. Before the learned Sessions Judge reliance was placed on the case of : AIR1958Cal612 (supra) for holding that charge-sheet was not a report as envisaged in Section 11 of the Essential Commodities Act, 1955. This was a case before the Calcutta High Court and the learned Single Judge before whom reference was made to the. case Sagarmal Agarwala v. Emperor AIR 1944 Pat. 390, felt himself bound by a Bench decision of the. Calcutta High Court in the case of Ganga Prosad Kanoo v. Emperor, 48 Cri LJ 557 (Cal). The learned Single Judge stated:

I am, unable to follow the decision of a single Judge, of the Pataa High Court in the case AIR 1944 Pat 390.. If it were the intention of the Act to empower the Court to take cognisance on a charge-sheet there was, in my judgment, no necessity to specifically mention that no Court shall take cognisance of any offence under the Essential Commodities Act except On a report in writing etc.

It thus appears to us that the learned Single Judge was of opinion, that a charge-sheet submitted by the police could not be considered a report in writing within the terms of Section 11 of the Essential Commodities Act, 1955 because it was not the intention of the Legislature to so direct. The learned Judge, however, relied on 48 Cri. LJ 557 (Cal) (supra). We are of opinion that that case does not support the proposition. In the case of 48 Cri. LJ 557 (Cal) the report submitted against the accused alleged an offence of keeping in possession hardware without any licence or permit as required by Iron and Steel Control Order, 1941, and, therefore, alleged that an offence punishable under Rule 81(4) of the Defence of India Rules read with Clause 4 of the Iron & Steel Control Order 1941, had been committed. After the evidence the trial Magistrate amended the charge and actually found the accused guilty of failure to submit returns. Referring to this amendment of the charge the learned Judge has stated:

There is no report in writing of the facts constituting this contravention.and further

As there was no such report in the present case, the Court had no jurisdiction to try the appellant on the charge of which he was untimately found guilty.

This Bench case, therefore, is no authority for the proposition that a charge-sheet submitted by a police is not a report in terms of Section 11 of the Essential Commodities Act, 1955, or even under Rule 130(1) of the Defence of India Rules, 1939.

4. Learned Counsel appearing for the State has drawn our attention to the case of Bhagwati Saran v. State of U.P. : AIR1959All332 , In tact this case has been relied upon and specifically mentioned in ground No. 2 of the memorandum of appeal We have perused this case with the help of the learned Counsel and do not find it of any assistance. Then the question before Srivastava, J. was as to whether the report Was deficient inasmuch as facts constituting the offence were not mentioned in it.

5. The only relevant case to which our attention has been drawn during the hearing is the case of AIR 1944 Pat 390 (supra). There Sinha, J. (now Chief Justice of India) held:

After completing his investigation he (Sub-Inspector of Police) submitted a regular written charge-sheet giving all the details for the prosecution of the petitioner. Hence there was a report in writing of a public servant upon which the petitioner was prosecuted.

We are in respectful agreement with this view and are of opinion that a charge-sheet submitted by a police officer amounts to a report in writing within the terms of Section 11 of the Essential Commodities Act, 1955.

6. Then we must address ourselves to the second question before us as to whether this charge-sheet constitutes a report in writing of facts constituting the offence. There is an error in the charge-sheet. It does not mention that an offence under the Essential Commodities Act read with Paddy (Restriction on Movement) Order, 1958, has been committed. There is a reference to Section 3 of the Food Act. There is thus an error in this report. This charge-sheet also does not mention that the respondent Asha Nand was attempting to take this quantity of paddy across the border of Rai Bareli district which is one of the districts mentioned in the schedule to the Paddy (Restriction on Movement) Order, 1958. This, however does not, in the instant case, present any difficulty. The report in the general diary was recorded on 11.4.1959. A copy of this report mentioning Section 3 of the Essential Commodities Act, 1955 and also the Paddy (Restriction on Movement) Order, 1958 as also alleging that Asha Nand was attempting to move this paddy across the border was Sent to the trial Magistrate along with the charge-sheet.

The learned Counsel points out that there is no evidence on this point. From the index of the papers of the Court of the trial Magistrate we find that papers 6 to 14 (sheets) are mentioned together as the report challani. Besides all the documents must have accompanied the charge-sheet as copies had to be given to the accused under Section 173 of the Code of Criminal Procedure. From paper No. 9 it also appears that a copy of the general diary report dated 11.4.1959 was amongst the papers that were submitted' along with the charge-sheet The papers actually submitted appear to have been marked with a tick or entered in ink. In these circumstances we are of opinion that a copy of the general diary report dated 11.4.1959 was submitted along with the charge-sheet. The defect in the charge-sheet i.e., in the statement of facts is, therefore, not serious and we are of opinion that the charge-sheet must be read along with this report and once that is done, there is certainly a sufficiently detailed statement Of the facts constituting the offence.

7. No other point has been pressed before us. We therefore, accept this appeal, set aside the order of acquittal, restore that of conviction and the sentence of fine imposed by the Sub-Divisional Magistrate as also the sentence imposed on him in default. At the request of the learned Counsel one month's time is allowed for the payment of fine.


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