The five applicants have been convicted of the offence of rioting- by a Magistrate who sentenced them to terms of rigorous imprisonment and fines. On appeal the learned Sessions Judge maintained the convictions but set aside the sentences of imprisonment and replaced them by sentences of fines only. The applicants urge before this Court that on the findings of fact at which both the Courts below have arrived, they were not guilty of the offence of rioting, but they acted, as they all along pleaded that they did act, in the exercise of the right of private defence and they had no time to have recourse to the protection of the public authorities. The facts are simple. Jageshar Rai lawfully and legally obtained possession of certain land and he sowed on it certain crops, rabi of 1915-16. One Bal Kishen in bad faith and dishonestly with ft party of men went upon the land and commenced to cut the crops for the purpose of removing them or at least damaging them. Information of this was sent to Jageshar Rai, and he in company with a band of men went straight to the spot to protect his property. A fight resulted in which, however, very slight damage was done to anybody. It was on these facts that the learned Judge has upheld the conviction of rioting. It is clear to my mind that under the circumstances of this case the convictions cannot be maintained. The very circumstances show that the applicants had no time to have recourse to the protection of the public authorities. The learned Sessions Judge suggests that they had plenty of time to go on to the Police Station and to make a report of theft. It is true that they had ample time to do that, but that would have been of very little use so far as the protection of the property was concerned. The damage and loss would have been completed before the Police could have arrived. The case cannot for a moment be compared to the reported case of Queen-Empress v. Prag Dat 20 A. 459 : A.W.N. (1898) 117 : 9 Ind. Dec. (N.S.) 654 and the other cases which are mentioned in that judgment. Fur. thermore, it is not a case in which the opposite party were merely ploughing up the land and preparing it for sowing. In the latter case no damage is being done, and there is ample time to have recourse to the protection of the public authorities for the enforcement of their right. In the present case, property was actually being cut and damaged. If the applicants had gone to the Police Station and returned with Police help the damage would have been completed. They clearly did not use any more violence than was absolutely necessary for the protection of the property. I, therefore, accept the application, set aside the convictions and sentences and direct that the fines, if paid, be refunded.