1. During the forenoon of the 5th of July 1921, a largo crowed gathered in front of the District Magistrate's Court during the trial of ore Malkhan Sirgh for some alleged political offence. The trial created a good deal of excitement and, it appears, that, in the light of previous disturbances, the Police authorities gathered an unusually large number of Policemen to keep order. Apparently, it was feared, rightly or wrongly, that an attempt might be made by the crowd to rescue Malkhan Singh, Daring the course of the morning there was some sort of a melle, and nine individual Policemen were hurt, although with the exception of one man, who had him lip out, none of the others received more than the meet trivial injuries. The result was a magisterial enquiry, and 27 men were committed to the Court of Session charged under Sections 147 and 332/149 of Indian Penal Code. Now, that was a perfectly intelligible charge and implied that the 27 men committee were actuated by a common object, and in pursuance of that common object, assaulted the Police in the discharge of their duties. At the trial the learned Sessions Judge found that there was no common object and that the accused were not acting in concert. He, therefore, held that the charge under Section 147 could not be maintained. After discussing the evidence, he says:
2. This leads to the inference that the whole crowd did not collect with an unlawful object nor was it excited in the manner elated by the prosecution. On the other hand, these circumstances show that only those men who wanted to follow Mr. Sherwani offered resistance to the Police when the latter wanted to push them back and very likely those who were in the front joined them. Such being the case, only those men who committed the act can be held liable.'
3. I entirely agree with this observation of the leaned Judge. He goes on to say:
In this case all the circumstances lead me to think that the crowd had Collected with a view to make a demonstration at the trial of Malkhan Singh, That object was not unlawful nor was it considered objection-able by the authorities as not only such crowds had assembled on previous occasions but the authorities had been watching. The gradual increase in the crowd without ever thinking of dispersing it. It was certainly wrong on the part of some men to go to tie Court-room after Sherwani did. There can be co doubt that they knew very well that only the persons who bad permission could go there. The order passed by the authorities to prevent people in general going to the Court-room was a lawful one. The Policemen posted on the driver, to see that the order was carried out, were undoubtedly engaged in the discharge of their duty, and if they were assaulted or resisted by the men, whom the Policemen wanted to prevent from going, they certainly committed the offence under Section 332 of the Indian Penal Code, and every man who joined in the assault can also be held guilty of that offence under the provisions of Section 34 of the Indian Penal Code; but I do not think the offence of riot was committed nor can every man who happened to be present in the crowd he held guilty under Section 332 of the Indian Penal Code. I therefore, find that the offence of riot was not committed but an offence under Section 332 of the Indian Penal Code was, of course, committed but only these men who took part or joined those assaulting man, can be held guilty.
4. He then goes on to consider the evidence against each one of the amused, and in the end he convicted Hand acquittal the rest. These 11 acquitted the rest. These 11 accused have appealed. It seams to me that on the finding that these accused persons were not actuated by any common object, it must be taken that there were merely a number of isolated assaults on individual members of the Police force, and, in the absence of any common intention, the provisions of Section 34 of the Indian Penal Code cannot be called in aid. Nine Policemen are said to have been assaulted in different parts of the maidan and apparently by different people acting quite independently of each other. The Court has made no attempt to find cut who were the particular individuals who assaulted a particular Policeman but has held that any one who has been assaulting any Policeman daring that morning in front of the District Magistrate's Court, must be held to be guilty of the offence, not of assaulting the particular Policeman but of what he considers to be an assault on the Police, under Section 34 of the Indian Penal Code, and that any one who assaulted the Police on that morning must be held guilty. I cannot agree with this view. If there was no common intention or concert between the accused persons, they cannot, in my opinion, be tried together. There were so many isolated assaults and there should have been as many separate trials. I do not think it necessary in this case to order are trial. On the finding, I think, the accused are entitled to an acquittal. They were only sentenced to four months rigorous imprisonment of which many have served more than half, and before this they were eight months in Police custody. Under these circumstances, specially as the hurt inflated was of the very slightest, I think it unnecessary to order a re trial.
5. I allow the appeal and, so far as this charge is concerned, they will be released, and, such as are on bail, need not surrender.