1. The appellants, Shama Charan and Jamna Sahai, have been convicted under Section 466 and Shama Charan sentenced to one day's simple imprisonment and a fine of Rs. 500; Jamna Sahai was sentenced to one day's simple imprisonment and a fine of Rs. 100. Ram Lal was also tried at the same time and convicted and sentenced to one day's simple imprisonment and a fine of Rs. 3,000. Ram Lal has not appealed but Government has applied in revision for enhancement of sentence in the case of all three. Notice has duly issued to show cause why the sentence should not be enhanced and Mr. Satya Chandra Mukerji appeared to show cause on behalf of Shama Charan and Ram Lal, while Mr. Gulzari Lal appears to show cause on behalf of Jamna Sahai.
2. On another charge, all three persons were also convicted bat the sentence was limited to one day's simple imprisonment in each case. Jamna Sahai and Shama Charan have appealed from that conviction. We do not think that it was unreasonable not to inflict substantial sentences in the second case because to some extent the matter was one transaction. Second offence was committed at one and the same time.
3. The offences, with which these several persons were charged in the two cases and some other cases which were instituted at the same time but which have not been proceeded with, were that of altering plaints which had been filed in the Court of the Subordinate Judge of Shahjahanpur and substituting certain pages in these plaints for pages which formed part of the plaint at the date that the suits were instituted. It was admitted that the plaints as originally drawn up were altered very considerably and it was also admitted that certain pages were, after the plaints had been originally drawn up, subsequently substituted. The prosecution alleged that these things were done after the suits were filed, while the accused alleged that the alterations and substitutions were made and done perfectly innocently before the plaints were filed.
4. We have considered the evidence and we have had the advantage of hearing the case for the accused most forcibly put by Mr. Satya Chandra Mukerji, but we have not the least hesitation in saying that we entirely concur with the finding of the learned Sessions Judge and the Assessors that the alterations and substitutions were made after the plaints were filed. In one of the cases, the alteration was no less an alteration than the addition of a party against whom the suit was clearly barred when the alteration was made. There cannot be the least doubt that the alteration and substitutions that were made, were made fraudulently.
5. In addition to addressing us on the merits, Mr. Satya Chandra Mukerji has raised a number of objections to the legality of the conviction. He says, in the first place, that there was no sanction or complaint entitling the Court to take cognizance of the offences, that is to say, that in one case, there was no sanction or complaint against two of the accused and in the other case against one of them. It is true that there was no sanction but there was, in our opinion, a complaint.
6. It is urged that because Jamna Sahai and Shama Charan were not specifically named in the complaint of Mr. Lyle, District Judge, that there was no complaint. Mr. Lyle in his order does not, it is true, name Jamna Sahai and Shama Charan, while he does name Ram Lal, but, in our opinion, it was not necessary that he should name these persons Complaint is defined in Section 4 (8) of the Code of Criminal Procedure as meaning: The allegation made orally or in writing to a Magistrate with a view to his taking action under this Code that some person whether known or unknown has committed an offence.' In our opinion, Mr. Lyle's order was a complaint within the meaning of this definition, and he having made this complaint, the Court or Magistrate was entitled to take cognizance of the offence and to proceed against all persons who should appear before him as accused persons in connection with the offence of which Mr. Lyle had made a complaint.
7. The next point urged on behalf of the accused was that the approver's evidence was not admissible. It appears that the pardon to the approver was tendered by Mr. Lane, a Magistrate of the 1st class. It is urged that Mr. Lane was not inquiring into the offence and that he did not record his reasons as provided by Section 337 (4) of the Code of Criminal Procedure. In oar opinion, Mr. Lane was inquiring into the offence. The case had been transferred to him for inquiry and he had issued summonses for the attendance of the witnesses and the accused. It is true that in his order, he did not record his reasons but it does not appear from the section that this recording of reasons by the Magistrate is a condition precedent to the tender of the pardon and its acceptance by the approver, and the pardon clearly could not be set aside on this ground. Furthermore, it is perfectly clear that the accused were in no way prejudiced by reason of the fact that Mr. Lane omitted to record his reasons.
8. It was then argued that the approver's evidence was not admissible because the altering of the plaint in the way already referred to was not an offence under Section 466 of the Indian Penal Coda, but that it was one under Section 465 and that accordingly, it was not an offence triable exclusively by the Court of Sessions, and that, therefore, a pardon could not be given to the approvers. It was argued that a plaint was neither a record nor a proceeding of, or in, a Court of Justice, and reliance was placed on the definition of the words Court of Justice' in Section 20 of the Indian Penal Code. The definition is as follows: 'The words 'Court of Justice' denote a Judge who is empowered by law to act judicially alone, or a body of Judges which is em. powered by law to act judicially as a body, when such Judge or body of Judges is acting judicially.' Section 7 is as follows: 'Every expression which is explained in any part of this Code is used in every part of this Code in conformity with the explanation.' In our opinion, it is impossible to contend that a plaint is not a record or a proceeding of the Court of Justice in which it is filed. It is part and parcel of the record of a suit and we think that it can clearly be said to belong to the particular Court of Justice in which it is filed, notwithstanding the definition of that expression in the Code. It is a document which once filed cannot be altered or amended without the special sanction of the Court.
9. We think, therefore, that all the objections taken to the admissibility of the approver's evidence fail. We accordingly dismiss the appeal.