D. Falshaw, C.J.
1. This is a revision petition by Sadhu Singh who has been convicted under Section 9 of the Opium Act and sentenced to one and a half year's rigorous imprisonment.
2. The prosecution story is that in consequence of secret information Sub-Inspector Ajit Singh of the Police Station Khalra organised a party which included Madan Lal and Sardul Shigh P. Ws, members of the public, and went to the house of Sadhu Singh, a young man of 25, early on the morning of the 16th of April 1964. It is alleged that on interrogation Sadhu Singh disclosed that he had two kilos of opium in a tin box in his trunk. He then opened the trunk and took out the tin box which actually contained two kilos of opium wrapped in a piece of cloth.
3. The accused denied his guilt and said that a false case had been brought against him because his father Kehar Singh, who is a lambardar, had refused to support a false case against one Tara Singh. The details of this alleged incident were related by Kehar Singh Lambardar who also stated that he and his brother Teja Singh and his sons Sadhu Singh and Avatar Singh jointly lived in the house where the opium was alleged to have been recovered. This was also supported by other defence witnesses, but the prosecution story has been believed by the trial Court and by the learned Additional Sessions Judge.
4. The first attack in revision is made on the fact that the two non-official witnesses who have supported the story of the disclosure statement and the recovery are both from distant villages, one even coming from a place 40 miles from Khalra, although it was admitted that Khalra is a place of considerable size with four or five thousand inhabitants. Moreover, it was proved from their statements that they had frequently given evidence for the police. Even the learned Magistrate remarked that it was amply established that these witnesses were the stock witnesses of the police, hut he went on to say that that only meant that their evidence was to he weighed with caution and care and not to be rejected outright, a view to which in my opinion no exception can he taken however, I should have thought that in the present case it should not have been impossible for the police to obtain some better witnesses from a place of the size of Khalra.
What is more serious in the present case is that in my opinion the use of Section 27 of the Evidence Act for the purpose of introducing a so-called disclosure statement becomes meaningless and almost farcical, since it is quite obvious that the opium was not in a place of concealment at all and could have been found by the most perfunctory search by a police officer. A disclosure statement in my opinion only has any meaning at all if the place where the incriminating article was recovered is really a place of concealment which it would be difficult or impossible for the police to discover without some assistance from the accused, and when stock witnesses are brought in to support a meaningless disclosure statement of this kind I am of the opinion that no weight can he attached to it. This means that the opium was discovered in a place to which, ac cording to the defence evidence, at least four persons had access as inhabitants of the house, and without the so-called disclosure statement there could be no question of exclusive possession by any member of the household. On this ground I regard the case as not conclusively established against the petitioner and I accordingly accept the petition and acquit him. His bail bond will be cancelled.