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The State Vs. Banu Ram and Sanwara Ram and anr. - Court Judgment

LegalCrystal Citation
SubjectCriminal
CourtPunjab and Haryana High Court
Decided On
Judge
Reported in1961CriLJ399
AppellantThe State
RespondentBanu Ram and Sanwara Ram and anr.
Excerpt:
.....knowledge of passing of the said order. - 6, additional district magistrate, for the search of the shop of banu ram on the ground that reliable information had been received that banu ram was using his premises for the purpose of satta gambling. 3, although he claimed that he had not indulged in satta gambling himself, has explained such gambling, and indeed the general principles are well understood......reliable information had been received that banu ram was using his premises for the purpose of satta gambling. in pursuance of this warrant on the following day, the 29th may, s. i. mit singh raided the shop in the company of sunder lal and purdaman singh p.ws. on the arrival of the sub-inspector the accused hastily collected some papers and put them in an iron cash box but the sub-inspector, took possession of these documents and other articles including over rs. 700/- in cash.3. although the accused denied their guilt and denied that the documents recovered had any connection with satta gambling and three witnesses were produced in defence to state that to their knowledge satta gambling was not carried on at the shop of banu ram, there seems to be no doubt that in fact most of the.....
Judgment:

D. Falshaw, J.

1. Banu Ram, a shopkeeper of Karnal, and his employee Dina Nath were prosecuted under Sections 3/4 of the Public Gambling Act but they were acquitted by the Court of a Second Class Magistrate and the State has filed an appeal against their acquittal.

2. The facts are quite simple. On the 28th of May, 1959, Sub-Inspector Mit Singh of the City Police Station, Kama), obtained a warrant-under Section 5 of the Act from Mr. M. R. Vaid P.W. 6, Additional District Magistrate, for the search of the shop of Banu Ram on the ground that reliable information had been received that Banu Ram was using his premises for the purpose of satta gambling. In pursuance of this warrant on the following day, the 29th May, S. I. Mit Singh raided the shop in the company of Sunder Lal and Purdaman Singh P.Ws. On the arrival of the Sub-Inspector the accused hastily collected some papers and put them in an iron cash box but the Sub-Inspector, took possession of these documents and other articles including over Rs. 700/- in cash.

3. Although the accused denied their guilt and denied that the documents recovered had any connection with satta gambling and three witnesses were produced in defence to state that to their knowledge satta gambling was not carried on at the shop of Banu Ram, there seems to be no doubt that in fact most of the documents seized by the Sub-Inspector are satta gambling slips or documents connected with satta gambling. The learned Magistrate, however, acquitted the accused because he found that there was nothing in the prosecution evidence to show than the accused were making any profit out of gambling or that the premises were being used for gambling for profitable purposes.

4. It would seem, however, as has been pointed out by the learned counsel for the State, that the learned Magistrate must have been relying on the definition of 'Common Gaming House' as it originally stood in the Public Gambling Act of 1867 before it was amended by the Punjab Public Gambling Act (Punjab Act No. 1) of 1929. In the original Act 'Common Gaming House' was defined as meaning:

any house or room or tent or enclosure or vehicle or vessel. Or any place whatsoever in which any instruments of gaming are kept or used for gaming purposes - with a view to the profit or gain of any person owning, occupying, or keeping such house, room, tent, enclosure, vehicle, vessel or place whether by way of charge for the use of such house, room, tent, enclosure, vehicle, vessel, place or instruments or otherwise howsoever.

5. It may also be mentioned that the definition of 'Instruments of gaming' was also restricted as 'Instruments of gaming' were defined as including any article used as a means or appurtenance of, for the purpose of carrying on or facilitating gaming. Some light appeared to be thrown on what was not to be included in this definition in Section 4 of the Act which still remains unaltered and reads:

Whoever is found in any such house, room, tent, enclosure, vehicle, vessel Or place playing or gaming with cards, dice, counters, money or other instruments of gaming, or is found there present for the purpose of gaming, whether playing for any money, wager, stake or otherwise, shall be liable to a flue not exceeding one hundred rupees, or to imprisonment of either description, as defined in the Indian Penal Code, for any term not exceeding one month; and any person found in any common gaming house during any gaming or playing therein shall be presumed, until the contrary be proved, to have been there for the purpose of gaming.

6. With these definitions of 'Instruments of gaming' and 'Common Gaming House' it certainly would appear to be open to considerable doubt as to whether premises merely used for the collection of stakes and slips relating to bets of the nature of satta gambling would be covered, in the absence of evidence of profit to the person using the premises for such a purpose.

It is, however, clear that this loophole was intended to be blocked by the amendments introduced by the Punjab Public Gambling Act.

In this 'Instruments of gaming'' are defined as including any article used as a means or appurtenance of, or for the purpose of carrying on or facilitating gaming, and any document used as a register or record or evidence of any gaming. Furthermore in the' definition of 'Common Gaming House' after the words 'kept or used for gaming purposes' the words 'with a view to the profit or gain of any person etc. etc. down to the words 'or otherwise howsoever' are included in a separate Sub-section headed (a) and Sub-section (b) has been added as follows:

With or without a view to such profit or gain if the gaming for the purpose of which such instruments are so kept or used is gaming on any figures or numbers of dates to be subsequently ascertained, or on the occurrence or non-occurrence of any natural event.

7. One of the witnesses produced, Nilial Chand, P.W. 3, although he claimed that he had not indulged in satta gambling himself, has explained such gambling, and indeed the general principles are well understood. The betting is by placing stakes of various amounts on either a number of two digits from 01 up to 99, or on a single digit representing the last digit in the selected number, the winning number of two digits being selected in various ways. According to the witness a backer of the successful two-figure digit is paid at the rate of Rs. 100/- to Rs. 1/4/-(Rs. 1.25 nP) or in other words 80 to 1 and a similar dividend of 8 to 1 or so is paid for the successful forecast of the last chosen digit.

The slips recovered in the present case refer to sums of money in connection with numbers of either two or one digit and one of the documents, Exhibit P.B., appears to be a summarised account of the various sums laid by different people on the numbers from 19 to 29 and while the accused have denied that these documents relate to satta gambling they have not offered any alternative explanation as to what they might refer. In my opinion, as I have said, there can be no doubt that they refer to satta wagers and under the amended definition they amount to 'Instruments of gaming' and also the premises used for collecting them are a 'Common Gaming House' whether or not the prosecution establishes that their collection is for the purpose of making a profit-

8. In the circumstances I am of the opinion that the guilt of Banu Ram accused under Section 3 of the Act being the owner or occupier of premises and using the premises as a 'Common Gaming House' is established. It does not, however, seem to me that any offence is established against the employee Dina Nath who merely seems to have been engaged at the time of the raid in helping his employer with the accounts of the gambling. The learned counsel for the State sought to bring in Dina Nath under Section 4, according to which any person found in a Common Gaming House should be presumed, until the contrary be proved, to have been there for the purpose of gaining, but the very prosecution case would appear to show that Dina Nath was merely there assisting his employer.

The result is that I would dismiss the appeal so far as it relates to Dina Nath respondent and would accept it as regards Banu Ram and convicting him under Section 3 of the Act sentence him to pay a fine of Rs. 50/- or in default to undergo one month's simple imprisonment, Banu Ram must surrender to his bail-bond which would be cancelled if he pays the fine, otherwise he must be sent to jail to serve the imprisonment to default. The money recovered is to be returned to Banu Ram and the satta papers destroyed.

Harbans Singh, J.

9. I agree.


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