1. I cannot agree with the learned Judge of the lower appellate Court that a Sub-Inspector, while he is holding an investigation on a charge of house trespass in the house of A, has the right to enter the house of A's neighbour B. One Baldeo was caught at night in the house of Chheda Lal, a neighbour of the applicants, who are father and son. Baldeo's explanation to the police appears to have been that he was carrying on an intrigue with the applicant Jagannath's wife and the applicant Sunder Dal's mother, and was caught as he was escaping from the house of the applicant through the house of Cheda Lal. The Inspector thereupon desired to enter the house of the applicants to satisfy himself whether Baldeo's story was true in so far as the possibility of scaling the partition wall from the side of the applicant's house was concerned. The applicants protested and threatened to shoot the Sub-Inspector. Under Section 156, Criminal P.C., the local limits within which an officer-in-charge of a police station may investigate a cognizable case are defined. No provision is made there of an indiscriminate power of such an officer to enter houses in the neighbourhood of the place where a cognizable offence may have been committed. The only authority which a police officer making an investigation has to enter a house without a search warrant is when he has reasonable grounds for believing that anything necessary for purposes of an investigation into any offence, which he is authorized to investigate, may be found in any place within the limits of the police station of which he is in charge. Obviously the search indicated here is for stolen property or for some document or for some tangible object, such as may be summoned to be produced by a Court under Section 94, Criminal P.C. The word 'thing' is specifically mentioned and that would not include a configuration of a wall, or the inspection of any place inside a house for purposes of investigation. The provisions of Section 165 are so strict that before entering a house the investigating officer has to specify in writing the thing for which search is to be made and also the ground of his belief that such a thing would be found in the house which he desired to enter. A promiscuous entry into houses is not permitted to an investigating officer simply to satisfy himself as to the truth of an allegation made by a complainant or an accused person or a witness. I hold therefore that the Sub-Inspector in desiring to enter the house of the applicants, was not acting in the discharge of his duty as such public officer.
2. I would have altered the conviction to one under Section 352 and maintained the sentence, if the Sub-Inspector had merely been acting in ignorance of law, but there have been differences between this Sub-Inspector and the applicants, and by reason of those differences the Sub-Inspector's conduct was not only ill advised but provocative. About two months previously the applicants had sued the Sub-Inspector for defamation for defaming the wife of Jagannath and the mother of Sunder Lal. The suit I am told was pending in July last when the Sub-Inspector desired to enter the house of the applicants. It will be natural in the circumstances for the applicant to suspect that the Sub-Inspector had merely got up this arrest of Baldeo in order to justify his implication of immorality of the woman. The applicants acted under great provocation. I alter the conviction to one under Section 358, I.P.C. and reduce the sentence to the period already undergone by the applicants. If the applicants are on bail they need not surrender.