1. This application on behalf of four persons, Sundar Lal, Makhan Lal, Munni Lal and Om Prakash, has been made for the revision of an appellate order of the Sessions Judge of Meerut confirming the order of a First Class Magistrate who had called on four applicants to furnish bonds and sureties to be of good behaviour for three years under Section 110, Criminal P.C. The information supplied to the Magistrate was that the applicants were so desperate and dangerous as to render their being at large without security hazardous to the community, and the Magistrate after taking evidence in a very full and careful order set before himself the questions which had to be decided:
If the accused' he remarked, are proved to be members of a secret organisation or group of revolutionaries whose avowed object is to spread terrorist activities and to prepare young men for revolution they would certainly come within the scope of Clause (f), Section 110.
and he therefore proceeded to decide1 on the evidence whether there was such a secret society and whether the persons prosecuted in his Court belonged to that society or group. His decision was that there was such a society or group, and that the present applicants and others were members of it, and the Sessions Judge has confirmed his order. The present application was originally admitted principally on two grounds which are numbered 5 and 6 in the application for revision. Some of the evidence in the Magistrate's Court was directed to proving that the applicants were in touch with persons who were accused in the Delhi Conspiracy case, and as that case had been withdrawn by the time the application was filed, it was contended that the position had become modified, or at any rate, some of the evidence could no longer be relied upon. Further it was claimed that both the Courts had improperly accepted in evidence some copies of certain letters said to have been written by or to some of the applicants. It has therefore come about that I have been compelled to examine the evidence more closely than is usual on the revisional side, and I have heard three learned Counsel at considerable length in support of the pleas put forward on behalf of the present applicants.
2. I may first dispose of some preliminary matters which have been mentioned in the course of argument but do not appear to me to need more' than passing notice. It has been objected that it was irregular to proceed against nine persons at the same time under Clause 3(f) of Section 110. As the case put forward by the police was that all these persons were members of a secret society and that they had been associating together in the matter under enquiry the objection is really met by a reference to Clause (5), Section 117, Criminal P.C. It has next been suggested that the Magistrate was a Sub-Divisional Officer and had not been specially empowered by the Local Government to take action under Section 110, Criminal P.C. The Magistrate however has been admitted to be a First Class Magistrate of more than two years' standing, and it is further admitted that under the orders of the Local Government such a Magistrate has power to proceed under Section 110, Criminal P.C. The authority of the Government to pass a general order of the kind, while Section 110 only refers to a First Class Magistrate 'specially empowered' has been questioned. But it is admitted that the question has been decided by a Bench of this Court in favour of the Government's authority, and I am in any case bound by the decision of that Bench. The point is at best a purely technical one. It has not been however seriously suggested that if the applicants are proved by the evidence to be members of a secret society the purpose of which is to cause a revolution by the use of bombs, pistols and other forms of violence, proceedings under Section 110 cannot legally be taken against them. If any authority is needed on such a point it has been provided by two recent decisions of a Single Judge of this Court, neither of which has yet been reported: Ajay Kumar Ghosh v. Emperor : AIR1933All674 and Satgur Dayal v. Emperor : AIR1933All674 . It has however been suggested that if the case for the Crown is established the applicant must be held to have been guilty of a definite offence, and in that case they should have been put on a trial for that offence, and should not have been arraigned before the Court under one of the preventive sections of the Criminal Procedure Code. There was a decision of a Single Judge of this Court which lends some force to this plea, namely, Ram Prasad v. Emperor : AIR1925All250 . But the question has been set at rest by the decision of a Bench in the case of Chandan v. Emperor : AIR1930All274 , where it was held that the mere fact that there may be some reason to suppose that the accused have committed some substantive offence under the Penal Code is no obstacle for the institution of proceedings under Section 110, Criminal P.C.
3. I need not repeat the facts of the case at any length as they are fully stated in the judgment of the Magistrate and the Sessions Judge. The existence of a secret society has been proved to the satisfaction of those Courts by sufficient evidence, two of the most striking circumstances being the 'red poster' affixed by the applicant, Sundar Lal, to the wall of the Meerut Kotwali early in July 1930, and the arrest of Prem Kumar in April 1931 and the discovery in his possession of loaded revolvers, live cartridges, etc. There was also the confession of Daryao Singh, which was afterwards retracted. The Courts have believed that this confession was voluntarily made and they have used it against Daryao Singh himself who has been called on to provide security in the same proceeding and to prove the existence of a secret society though they have have not used it to prove the complicity of any of the alleged members of the society except Daryao Singh himself. Little or no attempt has been made to show that the secret society does not exist, but it has been claimed on behalf of each of the applicants that the evidence is not sufficient to prove that the present applicants were members of that society, especially when that referred to in grounds 5 and 6 of the application is discarded. (After discussing the evidence against each of the applicants the judgment proceeded). Before passing orders, I must refer to a passage in the Magistrate's judgment of which no notice was taken by the Sessions Judge. The accused appear to have complained that they were being kept in solitary cells in the jail. The Magistrate remarked:
A man cannot be kept in solitary confinement unless after conviction the Court orders him to be so detained or he is given solitary cell as a jail punishment.
4. There had been no order of conviction in this case even the final orders under Section 110, Criminal P.C., had not been passed, and if any of the j persons before the Court were kept in solitary confinement the action of the jail authorities appears to have been irregular. The full circumstances of the case have not been reported to me, but I agree with the remarks of the Magistrate on the point and must direct that those who have been called on to provide security and have failed to do so, and have been confined in jail in consequence, are not to be kept in solitary confinement unless they have been liable to it for some infringement of the jail rules.
5. For the reasons given above, I dismiss the applications of Sundar Lal and Makhan Lal, but I accept those of Manni Lal and Om Prakash and direct that the order demanding security from them be set aside. As regards Sundar Lal and Makhan Lal, I have been asked to reduce the amount of the security. Sundar Lal has been directed to execute a personal bond in Rs. 5,000 and provide two sureties in the same amount. He is described as the son of a banker, but there is nothing else to show me either that the security demanded is suitable or that it is excessive. Makhan Lal is called on to execute a personal bond in Rs. 2,000 and provide two sureties in same amount. He is a karinda, and in his case too there is no further information. I find however that the same matter came before the Magistrate, and that he made an enquiry into the status of these persons and reduced the amounts which were originally demanded in accordance with the results. I have no reason therefore to believe that the amounts are excessive and I can make no order for their reduction. Sundar Lal and Makhan Lal who are on bail will surrender to their sureties.