1. This is an application for revision by one Janu Bhar, who has been convicted of an offence under Section 24 of the Criminal Tribes Act, III of 1911, and whose appeal against his conviction and sentence has been dismissed by the Sessions Judge.
2. As a matter of fact two men Janu and Banu were tried together and the irregularities which I am about to notice were committed at the trial of both of them. I propose, however, to distinguish between the cases of the two men and to confine my interference to the case of Janu. Banu did not appeal to the Court of the Sessions Judge and the statement made by him in the Magistrate's Court shows that he had no real defence. On that statement alone it would appear that a charge could have been framed and a conviction recorded under Section 22, if not under Section 24, of the Criminal Tribes Act. Dealing with the matter, therefore, as if Janu had been the only person on his trial, I note as follows.
3. The Magistrate took up the case on the 12th of June 1915, when he recorded evidence as to the circumstances under which Janu was arrested. He then proceeded to examine the accused. He asked him questions as to matters which were not in evidence against him and which, therefore, could not have been put for the purpose of enabling the accused to explain any circumstances appearing in evidence against him. He asked him other questions for instance as to his previous convictions, which related to matters such as could not legally be put in evidence against him in a trial on this charge. It is by no means clear to me from this examination that it was made clear to Janu what was the nature of the offence in respect of which he was being tried. The hearing was then adjourned to the 19th of June 1915, on which date formal evidence was taken as to the publication of a notice regarding the registration of the criminal tribe to which Janu belongs. It does not appear that the Magistrate had before him, from first to last, anything which could be called legal evidence that Janu was a registered member of the criminal tribe. A conviction was then recorded, no charge having been framed and no opportunity offered to the accused for cross-examining the prosecution witnesses as required by Section 256 of the Code of Criminal Procedure. When the appeal was filed by Janu and was heard by the learned Sessions Judge, it would appear that the attention of that Court was directed to the lacuna in the prosecution evidence for the learned Sessions Judge records that he had examined a certain register in order to satisfy himself that Janu was, as he puts it, 'a registered Bhar.' The Sessions record does not show how this register came to be before the Sessions Court, much less that it was lawfully tendered in evidence and proved or presumed to be genuine.
4. On these facts I hold that the trial of Janu was bad in law. I am not prepared to say that he was not prejudiced by the circumstances above mentioned.
5. I set aside the conviction and sentence passed on this accused and direct that he be re-tried by a competent Magistrate.