1. The applicant, Satyawan Acharya, was the manager of a press situate in Colonelgunj, Allahabad. On 28th January 1933, the officer in charge of police station Colonelgunj, visited the place and found a certain document in the course of printing, in the sense that the matter had been composed and was put in galleys. The press had not under Section 15, Press Emergency Powers Act, 23 of 1931, obtained the sanction of the Magistrate for publishing a news sheet.
2. The applicant was therefore prosecuted under Section 18 of the same Act, the charge against him being that he was abetting the making of a news sheet. News sheet has been defined in Section 2, Clause 6 as meaning any document other than a news paper containing public news or comments or public news or any matter described in Sub-section 1, Section 4. There is no controversy before me that the intended document was a news sheet within the meaning of Section 2, Clouse 6, but what has been strenuously argued is that the stage at the time of the police search was the stage of preparation or attempt only inasmuch as the composed matter was in the galley only and no proof had been taken out and it became necessary for the Police Officers in order to tender exhibits in Court to get the composed matter actually printed.
3. This contention has been repelled by the Courts below and the learned Judge is of the opinion that all persons who perform any one of the acts which contribute towards the final result should be considered as having made the news sheet. He then goes on to discuss the meaning of the word 'document' and as that word has not been defined in the Press Emergency Act, help was taken by resort to the definition of document in Section 29, Penal Code, and Section 3, Evidence Act. I am in agreement with the Court below that when the word 'document' has not been defined in the Press Emergency Act itself except by saying that it includes also any printing, drawing or photograph or other visible representation, the definition of the word as contained in the Penal Code and the Evidence Act will apply. It is however not necessary for me to go to that extent even; for in the present case the accused was charged only with the abetment of the offence of making a news sheet and it is not possible to argue that the accused who was supervising the printing was not abetting the making of the news sheet.
4. It was then argued that the accused was sentenced to six months' Rule 1., and a fine of Rs. 100 by the trial Magistrate and in appeal the learned Sessions Judge maintained the sentence of fine as originally passed by the trial Magistrate and in addition substituted a fine of Rs. 150 for the six months' Rule 1. awarded by the trial Court. It is contended that this in effect amounts to enhancement of sentence arid the learned Judge was not competent to do the same. I am aware of certain authorities which are to the effect that a sentence of fine in lieu of imprisonment should not be considered as enhancement unless there be evidence to the effect that the accused is unable to pay the fine or regards the sentence passed on appeal as more severe than the original sentence, vide Emperor v. Mehar Chand 1914 All. 530 and Bhakthavatsalu Naidu v. Emperor (1907) 30 Mad. 103. I am of the opinion that no general rule can be laid down to determine what is or what is not an enhancement of sentence in matters like these, but I am assured by Mr. Vishwa Mitra, who appears for the applicant, that the accused regards the substitution of a fine of Rs. 150 for the original sentence of six months' R.I., as enhancement, because the accused in the event of the fine not being paid will have to suffer some sentence of imprisonment which might be imposed in lieu thereof and also runs the risk of his property being attached in proceedings taken for realization of the fine.
5. Whether the action of the learned Judge amounts to enhancement or not it was further submitted before me that a fine of Rs. 250 in this case and a similar fine in the connected case acts very harshly and is out of proportion to the offence committed by the applicant. It is said that he is a young man about whose political activities nothing has been said and who at best wanted to make a little money by the publication of a spicy matter. It is also said that the accused apologised both to the District Magistrate and the Local Government and the same apology has been repeated before me. The learned Assistant Government Advocate however opposes the reduction and eon-tends that the sentence is not at all severe. Regard being had to all the circumstances of the case I think the original sentence of fine imposed by the learned Magistrate will meet the ends of justice.
6. The result is that while dismissing this application I reduce the punishment by awarding a sentence of Rs. 100 as fine and in default the applicant will suffer rigorous imprisonment for six weeks. I wish to draw the attention of the learned Judge to a slight illegality committed by him. The maximum sentence of imprisonment under Section 18, Press Emergency Powers Act is six months and therefore under Section 65, Penal Code, the term for which the Court can direct the offender to be imprisoned in default of payment of a fine shall not exceed one-fourth of the term of imprisonment which is the maximum fixed for the offence, if the offence be punishable with imprisonment as well as fine. It is clear therefore that the learned Judge could have imposed a sentence of six weeks' rigorous imprisonment only and not six months' R.I., in default of payment of fine.