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Tulshi Das Vs. Emperor - Court Judgment

LegalCrystal Citation
CourtAllahabad
Decided On
Judge
Reported in82Ind.Cas.476
AppellantTulshi Das
RespondentEmperor
Cases ReferredSukhnandan Singh v. Emperor
Excerpt:
public gambling act (iii of 1867), section 13 - legislature, intention of--'public place' meaning of--question, how determined. - interpretation of statutes definition clause: [markandey katju & h.l. dattu, jj] meaning given to an expression in one statute cannot be applied to another statute. - ' 4. the term 'public place' or a cognate, expression is used in many acts of the legislature, but i am not aware of any statutory definition which can have bearing on the present case, it may well have different meaning for the purpose of different acts. this, whether gaming be or be not morally desirable, can clearly constitute in no sense a public injury to moral standards; and, being badly advised that there was a loop hole, deliberately tried to take advantage of it......with gambling in the satta form, i.e., with betting or taking bets on opium price figures in a public place--an offence under section 13 of the gambling act iii of 1867, as amended by the u.p. act i of 1917. the section, as amended, reads: 'any person found gambling in any public street, place or thoroughfare' and by the same acts 'gaming' includes 'wagering'. the nine men, whose cases, are before me, were in their respective two groups, charged in effect with being book makers, i.e., with keeping premises for the purposes of betting and themselves taking bets therein. they have been sentenced to a month's imprisonment each. a number of those who went there merely for the purpose of making bets were sentenced to various fines. those others have not applied to this court in.....
Judgment:

Boys, J.

1. This Criminal Revision No. 210, and the other Criminal Revisions Nos. 205, 206, 209 and 211, deal with two incidents of satta gambling. The cases Nos. 206, 209, 210 and 211 are the cases of Tulshi Das, Lachmi Narain, Budha, Thakar Das and Nahal Chand. The case No. 205 is that of Ghisa, Pershadi, Manohar and Kallu.

2. To deal now with the Case No. 210, this man, Tulshi Das was charged with a number of others with gambling in the satta form, i.e., with betting or taking bets on opium price figures in a public place--an offence under Section 13 of the Gambling Act III of 1867, as amended by the U.P. Act I of 1917. The section, as amended, reads: 'Any person found gambling in any public street, place or thoroughfare' and by the same Acts 'gaming' includes 'wagering'. The nine men, whose cases, are before me, were in their respective two groups, charged in effect with being book makers, i.e., with keeping premises for the purposes of betting and themselves taking bets therein. They have been sentenced to a month's imprisonment each. A number of those who went there merely for the purpose of making bets were sentenced to various fines. Those others have not applied to this Court in revision.

3. The principal accused avowedly {vide the terms of their lease) took a lease of the premises concerned for the express purpose of carrying on the business which forms the subject of the charge. The.'place' in question consists of an enclosure within a larger enclosure, and the public street runs along one side of the larger enclosure, and the 'place', if used in the ordinary way as a place of residence, would undoubtedly be a 'private' place. I mention these facts, because reliance has been placed on them by the defence, but in the view that I take the construction of the place is wholly immaterial. The only question here is 'Did the accused by their action convert this place into 'a public place' within the meaning of the Gambling Act?'

4. The term 'public place' or a cognate, expression is used in many Acts of the Legislature, but I am not aware of any statutory definition which can have bearing on the present case, It may well have different meaning for the purpose of different Acts. Where it is not specifically defined, its value must be reasonably determined by the context and the circumstances in which it has been used. It is not defined in the Gambling Act. I have, therefore, to fall back on the consideration of what is the reasonable and proper scope to be given to the term for the purpose of Act III of 1867.

5. Two considerations present themselves. Is the Act, which is forbidden, so forbidden because it violates a public title or because it violates moral standards publicly.

6. Now it is clear that the Legislature in such Acts as forbid encroachment on public property, has in view the protection of public title. It is equally clear that in enacting the Gambling Act the Legislature had in view the prevention of public injury to moral standards and cannot be conceived of as having been even remotely concerned with the protection of public title to any particular property.

7. In what ways then can the standard of morality be publicly injured by gaming? It is possible to gamble:

(a) in a private house, entry to which is not permitted to any but friends, a select few coming by special invitation or special permission, and where the gaming can be neither seen nor heard by the public. This, whether gaming be or be not morally desirable, can clearly constitute in no sense a public injury to moral standards;

(b) under similar conditions but where the gaming can be seen by the public without the public infringing the private rights of the owner of the place. Here there is a public injury to moral standards; whether the circumstances of the gaming in a house, which is private in every sense of the term, being visible to the public or members thereof, will suffice to constitute it gaming 'in a public place' is a point which I have not got to decide in this case. I content myself with noting that in view of the case Reg v. Thallman (1864) 33 L.J.M.C. 58; L. & C. 326 : 9 L.T. 425 : 12 W.R. 88 : 9 Cox C.C. 388 any body who so acts will at least run a risk of meeting with an adverse decision;

(c) in a place the title to which is vested in the public. Here there can be no suggestion that an offence is not committed;

(d) in a place the title to which is vested in a private individual but into which that individual, either avowedly, or by implication, invites the public to come whether to gamble or as spectators.

8. Here again is that public injury to moral standards in an equally virulent form, as in the case (c) above, where the gambling is on land of which the title is vested in the public. The Legislature has used words 'in a public place' capable equally of including in their ordinary reasonable and proper meaning 'a place the title to which is vested in the public' and 'a place to which, however owned, the public is allowed in effect unrestricted access'. The public injury to moral standards to be prevented is equally great in the two cases and is equally obvious in the two cases, and the language used reasonably covers the two cases. It would be unreasonable to hold that both cases are not covered.

9. In the case before me, it is not disputed that the accused invited to enter all and sundry who might wish to bet, but the case would in my opinion have been no different if the invitation had been to a class of 'the public' or if there had been a merely colourable restriction on the right of entry.

10. My attention has been invited to a number of rulings and Statutes, English and Indian. But holding, as I have, that the matter must be decided on the language and purpose of Act III of 1867 and on that alone, I do not think it necessary further to refer to them, beyond saying that the view I have taken in effect accords with that of Mr. Justice Stuart in Sukhanandan Singh v. Emperor 65 Ind. Cas. 419 : 20 A.L.J. 80 : 23 Cr. L.J. 67 : 14 A. 265; (1922) A.I.R. (A.) 542, in which he relied on Reg v. Wellard (1885) 14 Q.B.D. 63 : 54 L.J.M.C. 14: 51 L.T. 604 : 33 W.R. 156 : 15 Cox. C.C. 559: 49 J.P. 296. The latter case has, I find, been followed also in Hari Singh v. Jadu Nandan Singh 31 C. 542 : 8 C.W.N. 458, Emperor v. Govindarajlu 30 Ind. Cas. 752 : 39 M. 886 : 2 L.W. 937 : 16 Cr. L.J. 704; (1915) M.W.N. 841 and In re Musa 36 Ind. Cas. 839 : 31 M.L.J. 285; (1916) M.W.N. 196 : 4 L.W. 503 : 40 M. 556 : 18 Cr. L. 7.

11. I am of opinion that it is not the question of title to the place, nor the nature of its metes and bounds, which are the decisive factors, but the use to which the place is put.

12. I hold that the accused were gaming in a public place.

13. There remains only the question of sentence. The accused plead that they did not know that they were breaking the law. I have held that they were breaking the law, and it appears to me that it had really been quite clear ever since the ruling of Mr. Justice Stuart in Sukhnandan Singh v. Emperor 65 Ind. Cas. 419 : 20 A.L.J. 80 : 23 Cr. L.J. 67 : 14 A. 265; (1922) A.I.R. (A.) 542 decided on December 16th 1921, which, though it referred to gambling of a different type, specifically dealt with the phrase 'in a public place.' Apart from what may have been the law, it is clear that the accused at least knew that they were doing some thing, which the law had intended to forbid; and, being badly advised that there was a loop hole, deliberately tried to take advantage of it. It is clear that they have done a very great deal of mischief; and, if the case rested there, I would maintain the sentence as it stands; but it also seems that some, at least, of that mischief would have been prevented if the Police had taken action sooner. While, therefore, I think that a fine of Rs. 50 is adequate in the case of the men who merely took advantage of the facilities provided by these accused and went to bet, I think it would be wholly inadequate in the case of the men who, for their own profit, deliberately provided those facilities. I reduce the sentence in the case of each of these nine men to a period of two weeks simple imprisonment. Some, if not all, of the applicants have already served several days. They will surrender to their bail and serve the remainder.


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