1. Amir Ahmad Appeals from his conviction under Section 19(f), Arms Act, for possession of cartridges, and Nathu Ram from his conviction under Section 20, Arms Act, on account of possession of a revolver after taking precautions to conceal the offence from a public servant. The Sub-Inspector at Nagina searched Amir Ahmad's house in the hope of finding stolen property. He found instead the accused Nathu hiding in a grain-bin covered by a Coat. On his being dragged out, a revolver was found in the pocket of his coat. In another portion of the house a number of cartridges were found, and it is in respect of these latter that Amir Ahmad has been convicted.
2. The facts of the case are quite clear, and on the facts there is no room for doubt as to the propriety of the convictions. Amir Ahmad's appeal has been strongly pressed on the ground that the whole trial is illegal on account of the District Magistrate's sanction to the prosecution not having been first obtained. The Magistrate first charged the accused under Section 19(f) but subsequently altered the charge to one under Section 20 and committed the accused to Sessions. At the Sessions trial it was found that the offence was really one under Section 19(f), and he was convicted accordingly. The same objection was pressed in the Sessions Court, and it was assumed by the learned Sessions Judge that in the Bijnor district the sanction of the District Magistrate is essential to a prosecution under Section 19, Arms Act. No discussion of the point is to be found in his judgment. By the terms of Section 29 of the Act the necessity for sanction depends on whether Section 32, Clause (2), Act of 1860 was in force in that district in the year 1878 when the Arms Act came into operation. Where the section just referred to was in force, sanction was only required in the case of offence committed within three months of the coming into force of the Indian Arms Act of 1878. Clause (2), Section 32, Act of 1860, was in force, (1) in every province, district or place which had been ordered to be disarmed, and (2) in every district, province or place where an order for a general search for arms under Act 28 of 1857 had been issued and was still in operation.
3. The Government Gazette of the North-Western Provinces for the year 1858 contains a notification issued by the Governor-General, No. 5336, dated 21st December, 1858, extending the provisions of Sections 1, 2 and 5 of Act of 1857 to the whole of the North-Western Provinces, and at the same time authorizing a general search and seizure of arms in those parts of the provinces which lie to the north of the rivers Jmuna and Ganges. The text of the Notification runs thus:
21st December, 1858.-No. 5336. The right Hon'ble the Governor General has been pleased to extend the provisions of Sections 1, 2 and 5, Act 28, 1857, to the North-Western Provinces of the Bengal Presidency.
His Lordship having resolved on disarming such parts of those provinces as lie to the north of the rivers Jumna and Ganges, has further' been pleased, under Section 24, Act 28, 1857, to authorize a general search and seizure of arms by the Magistrates and Collectors within the tract above specified. The Magistrate and Collector may delegate the name and authority to any officer of his establishment of rank not lower than Jamadar.
4. I have been unable to find any trace of this order having been rescinded between that date and the arms Act having come into force. Indeed in Para. 92 of the Arms Rules and orders issued under the authority of the United Provinces Government in 1924 it is stated that all parts of She United Provinces except the portion of the Mirzapur district lying south of the Zone have been disarmed. It appears therefore that the learned Sessions Judge was wrong in taking it for granted that the sanction of the District Magistrate to the prosecution was necessary. The objection on the score of want of sanction therefore falls to the ground. It is impossible to assail the convictions on the merits, I, therefore, dismiss the appeals of both the appellants.