1. This is a decision by a First Class Magistrate of Moradabad. It is brought up before me directly in revision Under the circumstances. I quash the order, being dissatisfied with the way in which the Magistrate has treated the case.
2. The charge arises out of some undoubted gambling, which was going on in a tent amongst people who were temporarily visiting Tigri for purposes of bathing in the Ganges. They were residents of Moradabad some 40 miles away, and it is not suggested that this is a permanent place of gaming or that the practice had been going on for a long time. Of course persons who use temporary places may be guilty just as much as persons who use permanent places. But the fact which I have mentioned influences my mind in deciding what I ought to do in consequence of the next point to which I wish to refer. The Magistrate by a piece of great carelessness has charged and convicted seven of these persons under the wrong section, that is to say, under Section 3 for keeping the gaming house and one only under Section 4 for being found there. The mistakes a purely technical one and if I were satisfied with the evidence and with the way in which the merits of the case had been treated, I should exercise my powers as an Appellate Court by altering the conviction to a proper form. In addition to this, the Magistrate has gone out of his way to refer, as, I am sorry to say, Magistrates too frequently do, to something within his own knowledge outside the case.
3. The next point is that the Magistrate has, so far as I can see, without the slightest jurisdiction, divided the total of Rs. 150 fines, which he had inflicted, between some of the witnesses in the case and a number of the Police Force, apparently belonging to the District including the Prosecuting Inspector. Whether one of these fortunate persons is also the informer does not appear, because the name of the informer was not given at the hearing. The Magistrate had power to award a portion of the fine to the informer but it doss not appear that he has done so in this case to the informer as such. The Assistant Government Advocate tells me that he has not met any either instance of this procedure. It is impossible to pass it over in silence. It is a practice which, whether justified in law or not, is very much to be deprecated and I think it my duty to send the judgment to the District Magistrate to take such steps as he thinks appropriate in the circumstances.
4. None of these points really would be sufficient in itself to justify me in interfering in revision but taken together, they leave an uncomfortable feeling in my mind about the way in which the Magistrate has handled the case. I have, therefore, looked at the evidence and I find that the evidence that the alleged principal in this gambling was taking nal is remarkably thin. it requires a certain amount of credulity to believe that two or three days before the occasion in question, a Police constable passing by accident heard the alleged principal demanding nil in express terms in a loud voice. The mare fact that I should not myself be convinced by the evidence, is not sufficient of course for interference in revision but the judgment being an unsatisfactory one, the conduct of the Magistrate, in the respect which I have mentioned, being also unsatisfactory, and the evidence which he has not analysed in detail in the judgment being somewhat thin, I quash all the convictions and order the fines, if paid, to be returned.