1. The applicant, Satgur Dayal Avasthi, has been ordered by a First Class Magistrate to execute a personal bond for Rs. 10,000 with two sureties each in the same amount to be of good behaviour for three years. As he did not give the security ordered the proceedings were laid before the Sessions Judge who affirmed the order of the Magistrate. Satgur Dayal has come up to this Court in revision. He challenges the validity of the order requiring him to give security for his good behaviour. He also contends that the amount of the bond demanded from him is excessive.
2. The case against the applicant stationary party and is so desperate and dangerous as to render his being at large without security hazardous to the community. The validity of the order requiring the applicant to give security is contested on the ground that the evidence of police officers, on which the Courts below have mainly relied, is inadmissible, and that, even if admissible, it is insufficient in law to justify the order made in the case.
3. In proceedings under Sub-section (f), Section 110, Criminal P.C., evidence of general repute may be tendered by the Crown to prove that a person is so desperate and dangerous as to render his being at large without security hazardous to the community. Evidence of association with proved revolutionaries is also evidence of reputation. A police officer is certainly a competent witness to speak to the reputation of a person who resides within his circle or to the reputation of a person with regard to whom he has had special occasions to make observations and enquiries in the course of his official duties. The police witnesses in' this case are not only the local police officers but C.I.D., officers of the U.P., and of other Provinces. If the evidence given by such officers is evidence of general repute and of association with proved revolutionaries, and not merely rumour or suspicion, it is undoubtedly admissible.
4. I should, only therefore, be justified in revision in looking into the evidence in order to satisfy myself that the Courts below have acted on evidence of repute and association and not on mere rumour or suspicion, The learned Sessions Judge was fully alive to the necessity of the evidence tendered on behalf of the Crown satisfying this test. He has gone into the matter at length and has come to the conclusion that it does satisfy this test. He has pointed out the peculiar difficulties of a case of this kind, namely, that respectable witnesses, whether produced on behalf of the Crown or in defence, are likely to have little knowledge of the applicant's revolutionary activities which would be carried on in secret. It is therefore not surprising that the witnesses on behalf of the Crown should consist largely of police officers whose special duty is to watch revolutionary suspects and where non-official witnesses are produced they should be members of the 'under-world.' He has further pointed out the utter futility of him and have induced the other witnesses to depose against him at the instigation of a gentleman who was a rival candidate to the applicant's brother at a Municipal election, the object being to deprive the applicant's brother of the applicant's assistance in his election campaign. The learned Sessions Judge has come to the conclusion which is certainly not open to question in revision that the police evidence is absolutely honest.
5. When we come to the evidence given by the police officers as to the applicant's repute, we naturally find a certain amount of hearsay evidence. This is inevitable in such a case. As pointed out by the learned Sessions Judge, if direct evidence were available of the applicant's complicity in revolutionary crimes, proceedings under Section 110 were unlikely to have been resorted to. Hearsay evidence does amount to evidence of general repute for the' purpose of Section 110 provided there is a reasonable foundation for it. This relaxation of the ordinary rules of evidence is justified by the fact that the object of proceedings under Section 110 is the prevention of crime and not its punishment. (After examining the hearsay, evidence and also direct evidence against the petitioner, his Lordship proceeded). This by no means exhausts the evidence against the applicant. It is quite impossible therefore to hold that there are not reasonable grounds for the prosecution witnesses to depose that the applicant has the repute of being a dangerous revolutionary. In my opinion, therefore the contention put forward on behalf of the applicant that the order requiring' him to give security is invalid cannot be substantiated.
6. I think however there is some force in the second contention put forward on behalf of the applicant, namely, that the amount of the bond demanded from the applicant is excessive. The applicant's brother has appeared before the Court and I gather that he is anxious to find security for the applicant but is finding difficulty in doing so owing to the amount demanded being too much for his financial status. It is certainly preferable that the applicant should be at large when there is a chance of moderating influences being brought to bear on him, than that he should be associating with confirmed criminals in gaol. This Court has little material on which to decide what amount of security would be suitable. The applicant's brother asks for the amount of the bond and sureties to be reduced to Rs. 2,500. This does not seem to me to be adequate in all the circumstances of the case. But I think that they could reasonably be reduced to Rs. 5,000 in each case. In a case like this, if the applicant is prepared to mend his ways there is no fear of his security being forfeited. In my opinion, having regard to the remarks made by the Court below with regard to the status of the applicant's family and connections, his failure to provide the reduced amount of security demanded will show the wisdom, of these proceedings.
7. I accordingly modify the order of the Court below so as to reduce the amount of the bond which applicant is required to execute to Rs. 5,000 with two sureties each in the like amount to the satisfaction of the Magistrate.