1. On 1st July 1930, Pandit Moti Lal Nehru and Dr. Syed Mahmud were charged before Mr. Bom-ford, District Magistrate of Allahabad, with having committed offences under Section 17 (1), Criminal Law Amendment Act, and Section 117, I. P.C. Both were convicted on both charges, and each sentenced to six months' simple imprisonment, such sentences to run concurrently. On 3rd July 1930 an application was made to this Court asking that the record might be called for in the exercise of its power of superintendence and revision. The record was called for by an order of this Court and a Bench was appointed. At the request of the Government Advocate the hearing which had been fixed by Kendall, J., for the 14th, was postponed till to-day.
2. The grounds of application are not clearly drafted, and there is no indication as to which of them apply to Section 17 (1) or to Section 117. A reference to the record however shows that Nos. 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 10 and 11 relate to Section 17, whilst Nos. 7 and 8 apply to Section 117.
3. The learned Government Advocate has informed the Court that he has been instructed by the Local Government to concede that the conviction under Section 17 (1), Criminal Law Amendment Act, cannot stand. We think that was, in the circumstances, the proper course to take. Everybody, of course, understands how the mistake arose. Everybody in the Court of the Magistrate, on the morning of 1st July knew as a matter of certainty, that the Criminal Law Amendment Act had been extended to the whole of the United Provinces as from 4 o'clock on the preceding morning. The actual text of the notification was contained in a newspaper of standing. Nobody doubted its authenticity. Section 78, Evidence Act, however indicates with precision how official documents of this nature are to be proved and an extract from a newspaper is inadmissible as proof. The failure to produce a copy of the Gazette Extraordinary left a broken link in the chain of evidence.
4. The statement of Mr. Williamson, that he had had a telephone conversation with the Chief Secretary as to the extension of the Act, should not have been accepted by Mr. Bomford or brought upon the record. It was inadmissible in evidence. As the Local Government realize, the conviction under Section 17 (1) cannot be supported. We need not discuss other points which challenged the validity of the convictions.
5. The setting aside of these convictions however is not a result which will have any practical benefit, unless a successful attack can be made upon the convictions under Section 117, I. P.C. The two specific grounds of attack contained in the application, relate to the proof of the handwriting of Pandit Moti Lal Nehru and Dr. Syed Mahmud. The point that is taken is that neither Mr. Measures nor Mr. Manohar Singh gave . a sufficient degree of proof of the handwriting of the two gentlemen concerned. The actual words of grounds Nos. 7 and 8 are that the statements 'fall short of proving' that the witnesses were acquainted with the handwritings. Now, when that evidence was given, it was not challenged. Nobody cross-examined Mr. Measures or Inspector Manohar Singh; and they having given, according to the evidence which lies before us, sufficient proof to comply with the provisions of the law, that matter cannot be challenged in revision.
6. The Government Advocate however has pointed out that we should not confine ourselves to the grounds of revision, but must satisfy ourselves with the legality and propriety of the conviction; and for that purpose he has read to us a document, which is on our record and which is known as Ex. 12, and an extract from Ex. 2, in which the committee of which Pandit Moti Lal Nehru and Dr. Syed Mahmud were members called upon the country publicly to disobey the three Ordinances. He has also read to us the language of Section 117, I. P.C. and has urged that there is no flaw and no gap in the evidence and that that conviction is unassailable. We are of that opinion.
7. The position therefore is that the conviction under Section 17 (1), Criminal Law Amendment Act, is set aside, and with it is set aside the sentence passed both upon Pandit Moti Lal Nehru and Dr. Syed Mahmud. The conviction under Section 117, I. P.C., stands, and the sentences stand.