1. This is a trivial matter in itself, but it deals with a decision which may be of importance. The applicant has been convicted by a Magistrate of an offence under Section 16 of the Press and Registration of Books Act of 1867, and fined Rs. 5 in the following circumstances:
2. The applicant is a proprietor of a Press and a book-seller, and he had been printing copies of the 'Bhagwat Gita' in his press. Under Clause (a), Section 9 of the Act, he had to deliver copies of the book within one calendar month after the day on which the book had first been delivered out of the press at a place notified by the Government which in this case was the District Magistrate's office. Copies of the book were ready printed on the 8th, 11th and 15th December 1925, but they remained in the press for binding, etc., and were not sent out of the, press until January. They were received at the District Magistrate's office on the 2nd February. The trying Magistrate has held that the book must be deemed to have been published as soon as it was issued from the press, by which he apparently means as soon as the process of printing had been completed. I do not agree with this pronouncement on the definition of what constitutes publication. The word 'publication' is, however, not used in Clause (a), Section 9 of the Act. The words used are 'delivered out of the press,' and it seems to me that this cannot be held to be equivalent to 'printed.' The work of printing might be completed before any copy were actually delivered out of the press. When a sheet has been printed, it does not constitute a book; it needs to be folded, corrected and bound before it can take the form of a book, and this process had not been completed on the dates shown in the Magistrate's judgment, viz., 8th, 11th and 15th December. The book does not appear to have been delivered out of the press until January, and there was, therefore, no offence under Clause (a), Section 16 of Act 25 of 1867.
3. In these circumstances, I accept the application, and order that the conviction and sentence of fine be set aside. The fine, if paid, will be refunded.