J.S. Bedi, J.
1. The facts of this case briefly are as under: On. the night between the 23rd and 24th of May 1961, a bullock of Hira Singh was stolen. He made a futile search for a coupie of days and ultimately lodged the report at Police Station Kotwali Kapurthala. The bullock was however, recovered from the house of Shangara Singh accused on the 24th May 1962 as a result of which Shangara Singh, the present petitioner along with Gurbachan Lal and Harnam Singh was challaned and sent up for trial. Shri Kuljit Singh, Bhalla, Magistrate 1st Class, Kapurthala, who held the trial, found the charge under Section 411, Indian Penal Code, proved only against Shangara Singh petitioner, convicted him accordingly and sentenced him to one year's rigorous imprisonment. The other accused were acquitted, vide his order dated the 29th March 1963. Feeling aggrieved against that order the petitioner went up in appeal which was dismissed by Shri Brijindra Singh Sodhi, Sessions Judge, Kapurthala, on the 23rd April 1963, hence this revision.
2. The learned Counsel for the petitioner, however, submitted that even taking the prosecution case as correct, it cannot be said that the order convicting the petitioner in this case was justified. In this connection he drew my attention to the provisions of Section 114 of the Indian Evidence Act. Illustration (a) thereunder reads that
the Court may presume that a man who is in possession of stolen goods soon after the theft is either the thief or has received the goods knowing them to be stolen, unless he can account for his possession.
He also invited my attention to Section 411, Indian Penal Code, which runs as under:
411. Whoever dishonestly receives or retains any stolen property, knowing or having reason to believe the same to be stolen property, shall be punished with imprisonment of either description for a term which may extend to three years or with fine or with both.
From the perusal of these two sections we find that presumption under Section 114 of the Indian Evidence Act would only arise if the recovery of the stolen goods was made soon after the theft and the accused has not been able to account for its possession, otherwise the conviction can only be maintained if there are other factors to show that the property recovered from an individual was dishonestly received or retained by him. The only point therefore which requires consideration is whether the stolen article recovered a few days less than one year of the theft would be said to have been recovered soon after the theft as contemplated by illustration (a) to Section 114, Indian Evidence Act. The petitioner's counsel cited Hazara Singh. The State, : AIR1951Cal377 . In that case the recovery of the incriminating article was made after three months of the dacoity. Similarly, in the other cited case viz. Giyan Chandra v. Emperor AIR 1937 All 47, the recovery was made a little after three months. In the above cases the learned Judges were of the view that no presumption under Section 114 of the Evidence Act could be raised as the recovery of the incriminating article after the expiry of three months or so could not be said to be soon after the theft. In the present case the bullock was recovered after about a little less than a year of the theft, and in my opinion, therefore, no presumption that either the petitioner was a thief or receiver of the stolen property could be drawn against him. Moreover it is a matter to be decided according to the facts and circumstances of each case. The bullock is a property which changes hands quite frequently. The trial Court was of the view that it was for the petitioner to prove his innocence, but it was in a fallacy on that point. It is always for the prosecution to bring out evidence or circumstances to prove the guilt of the accused person. The petitioner is therefore, given the benefit of the doubt and acquitted.