M.R. Sharma, J.
1. This appeal is directed against the judgment of acquittal passed by the learned Chief Judicial Magistrate Ludhiana, on November 18, 1972. The respondents were tried for an offence Under Section 61(1) of the Punjab Excise Act, 1914, for being in possession of 240 bottles of illicit liquor.
2. The learned trial Magistarte has found that Resham Singh, City Inspector, Ludhiana, formed the raiding party after the receipt of secret information and yet he did not join any independent person in the raiding party. The prosecution case rests on the testimony of Assistant Sub-Inspector Om Parkash PW 2 and Assistant Sub-Inspector Gurcharan Singh PW4. The learned trial Magistrate has found that the statements made by these two witnesses were discrepant in material particulars. His finding on this point reads as under:
I find material discrepancies, which still make their statements unreliable. According to P W 2 Shri Om Parkash, ASI, the City Inspector went on scooter whereas the rest of the party had gone on foot but according to Shri Gurcharan Singh, ASI, the whole of the party had gene on foot. Secondly, according to P. W..2, the City Inspector returned from the spot after one or li hours, but according to ASl Shri Gurcharan Singh, all the members of the raiding party left the spot together. Thirdly, according to P.W. 2, he left along with Amar Nath at about 3 p.m. leaving behind the rest of the police party at the spot, but according to P.W. 4 Shri Gurcharan Singh ASI, all the members of the raiding party left the spot together, at about 3.45 p. m. Apart from these material discrepancies in their statements Shri Om Parkash, ASI, could not recognise the accused individually, though he had so stated in his examination-in-chief. He did not even know if the accused were bailed out at the spot or they had been taken to the police station.
It was also found that since samples were taken out of 51 bottles it was not proved on record that the respondents were in possession of as many as 240 bottles of liquor. Further more, Mohinder Singh F. W. 3, the owner of the house from which the liquor is said to have been recovered, has admitted in cross-examination that none of the respondents had taken the house on lease from him.
3. Accordingly the investigating officer did not comply with the salutary provisions of Section 103 of the Criminal Procedure Code. Though it cannot be laid down as a rule of law that non-compliance with these provisions completely vitiates the trial yet when the police has secret information about such a matter it is expected in all fairness to take some steps to associate respectable people belonging to the locality with the investigation so that its conduct at the stage of trial may not be criticised. This consideration apart, the statements made by the two prosecution witnesses, who are Assistant Sub-Inspectors of Police, are shown to be discrepant. A finding recorded by the learned trial Magistrate in these circumstances should not be lightly interfered with an appeal. We accordingly find no merit in the appeal and order the same to be dismissed.