S. Acharya, J.
1. The petitioners stand convicted under Section 427, I. P. C. and have been sentenced to pay a fine of Rs. 300/- each in default to undergo R. I. for 3 months.
2. The facts found to have been proved in the case are that the complainant having encroached upon a piece of Government land, was in cultivating possession of the same for a few vears, and in the year in question had grown Biri and paddy crops thereon, which the petitioners damaged by driving and allowing their cattle to graze on the same. In the trial the petitioners simply denied the entire occurrence.
3. The main Question raised by Mr. Murty, the learned counsel for the petitioners, is that on the facts proved no 'Wrongful loss' as defined in Section 23, I. P. C. was caused to the complainant as he was in unauthorised occupation of the disputed land, and as such the petitioners' act would not amount to an offence of 'Mischief' as defined in Section 425, I. P. C. In support of his above contention Mr. Murty cited the decision in AIR 1948 Mad 473, which is based mainly on the definition of the term 'Wrongful loss' as 'the loss by unlawful means of property to which the person losing it is legally entitled'. The conviction under Section 427, I. P. C. in the said case was set aside on the finding that P. W. 6 was not legally entitled either to the land or to the crop standing on it as he had no permission to cultivate the land or to raise any crop thereon. Section 425 speaks of 'Wrongful loss' or 'Damage' to the public or to any person. In the aforesaid decision the term 'Wrongful loss' only was taken into consideration, without considering the significance of the specific use of the word 'Damage' in the said section. In my view, the express mention of this word 'Damage' which is not limited in its scope by a definition, is not superfluous and/or redundant, and is indicative of the fact that the purview of the offence of 'Mischief' is not intended to be confined only to cases of 'Wrongful loss', but also to engulf within it all such cases of damages by unlawful means as in this case. Moreover, the first explanation to Section 425. I. P. C., in my opinion, is also applicable to a case like this.
4. Unauthorised possession by the complainant of a plot of land belonging to the Government, if at all, is a matter which should have been agitated and taken up before the concerned authoritiesand the forums legally constituted for that purpose, so that the matter could have been decided in a lawful and peaceful manner. The land on which the crops were grown by the complainant did not belong to the accused, and even if the accused had any semblance of right on the same, (which of course they did not positively assert in this case) they were not entitled to take the law into their own hands, and to go upon the same in the unlawful and forcible manner to destroy the crops grown by the complainant. The damage thus wantonly caused by the accused persons to the standing crops, proved to have been grown by the complainant on the said land in his possession, which if not of the complainant was not the land of the accused either, was definitely with the intention and knowledge of causing unlawful loss and/or damage to the complainant, and therefore constituted mischief as defined in Section 425, I. P. C. In expressing my view as above, I am supported by the decisions reported in AIR 1943 Sind 127; (1905) 2 Gri LJ 55 (Bom) and AIR 1968 Orissa 18.
5. The concurrent findings of facts of the courts below could not successfully be assailed. I am, therefore, of the opinion that the conviction passed against the petitioners is fully justified.
6. Mr. Murty also submitted that the sentence passed in the present case has been harsh and excessive. I feel that the ends of justice will be served if the petitioners are sentenced to pay a fine of Rs. 100/- each.
7. In the result, therefore, the conviction of the petitioners under Section 427 I. P. C. is maintained, and they are sentenced thereunder each to pay a fine of Rs. 100 (Rupees one hundred) only, and in default to undergo R. I. for two months each. The compensation of Rs. 200/- be paid to the complainant as ordered by the courts below. With the above modification in the sentence, the revision is dismissed. The rule for enhancement of sentence, as issued, not being strictly called for, is hereby discharged.