Skip to content


Hazari Lal Vs. the State - Court Judgment

LegalCrystal Citation
SubjectCriminal
CourtDelhi High Court
Decided On
Case NumberCriminal Miscellaneous (Main) Appeal No. 22 of 1984
Judge
Reported in1984(2)Crimes395; 1984(7)DRJ310; 1984RLR538
ActsDelhi Police Act, 1978 - Sections 103; Indian Penal Code (IPC), 1860 - Sections 26; Evidence Act, 1872; Code of Criminal Procedure (CrPC) , 1973 - Sections 251
AppellantHazari Lal
RespondentThe State
Advocates: P.S. Sharma and; Bharati Anand, Advs
Excerpt:
.....apprehensive of the police and attempting to escape.;d. evidence act--proof of ownership of wrist watch--the facts that the accused could not produce any proof of ownership of the watch is of hardly any consequence nobody is supposed to carry with him the proof of an article like a watch on his person.;e. code of criminal procedure--confessional statement to the police--confession made to the police by the accused that he had removed the watch found on his person from the wrist of some passenger while the train frontier mail was standing at the out signal, is not at ail admissible in evidence and can not be looked at for any purpose whatsoever. - - on interrogation he failed to produce any proof of his ownership of the watch and confessed before the police that the said wrist..........the police party turned back towards the stair-case of the over bridge. he was apprehended and a wrist watch, citizen make, with steel chain which he was holding in his right hand was recovered from him. on interrogation he failed to produce any proof of his ownership of the watch and confessed before the police that the said wrist watch had been removed by him clandestinely from the wrist of a passenger when the frontier mail was standing at the outer signal. the petitioner failed to produce any railway ticket or platform ticket. consequently, he was arrested under section 103, delhi police act, 1978 (for short the act) and the wrist watch was seized vide recovery memo prepared at the spot.(2) the substance of accusation was incorporated in the summary trial register at seriall no......
Judgment:

J.D. Jain, J.

(1) The facts leading to this revision petition in brief are that as per allegations contained in the Kalendra (a kind of report) submitted by Police station Railway, Delhi Main, in the court of the Metropolitan Magistrate (Railway), S.I. Amar Nath of the said Police Station was present on patrol at platform bearing Nos. Ii & 13, Delhi Main Railway Station, on the evening of 31st October 1983. At about 9.30 P.M. the petitioner on seeing the police party turned back towards the stair-case of the over bridge. He was apprehended and a wrist watch, Citizen make, with steel chain which he was holding in his right hand was recovered from him. On interrogation he failed to produce any proof of his ownership of the watch and confessed before the police that the said wrist watch had been removed by him clandestinely from the wrist of a passenger when the Frontier Mail was standing at the outer signal. The petitioner failed to produce any railway ticket or platform ticket. Consequently, he was arrested under Section 103, Delhi Police Act, 1978 (for short the Act) and the wrist watch was seized vide recovery memo prepared at the spot.

(2) The substance of accusation was incorporated in the summary trial register at Seriall No. 643. A notice under Section 251, Code of Criminal Procedure, was accordingly given to the petitioner on 1st November, 1983. He pleaded not guilty and claimed to be tried. He has now preferred this revision petition against the service of notice under Section 251 Criminal Procedure Code . upon him on the ground that no case under Section 103 of the Act is made out.

(3) Section 103 of the Act reads as under :-

'POSSESSION of property of which no satisfactory account can be given. Whoever has in his possession or conveys in any manner, or offers for sale or pawn anything which there is reasons to believe is stolen property or property fraudulently obtained, shall if he fails to account for such possession or act to the satisfaction of the Metropolitan Magistrate, on conviction, be punished with imprisonment for a term which may extend to three months or with fine which may extend to one hundred rupees, or with both.'

(4) On a plain reading of this Section, it is manifest that one of the essential ingredients .which must be satisfied in order to attract the applicability of this Section is that the property found in possession of the accused must be one in respect of which the court has reason to believe that it is either stolen property or property fraudulently obtained. It is only then that the accused can be called upon to account for his possession of such property to the satisfaction of the Magistrate. So, the primary question which falls for consideration in the instant case is Whether the aforesaid circumstances are sufficient to create reasonable belief that the wrist watch -in question was stolen property.

(5) The expression ''reason to believe' has been defined in Section 26 of the Indian Penal Code asunder:

'A person is said to have reason to believe a thing if he has sufficient cause to believe that thing but not otherwise.'

(6) On a plain reading of this definition it is crystal clear that before having a belief in the existence of a fact the circumstances must be such as to justify that belief in the objective sense i.e. the circumstances must be such that any reasonable person would consider certain facts to be probable. Mere suspicion about nature of the property would not be enough. At the same time, the circumstances leading to the belief about the existence of certain state of affairs need not be such as to import absolute conviction. It is enough if a man of ordinary prudence taking the circumstances as a whole can justifiably inter that the property in possession of the accused would in all probability be stolen. In other words, 'reasonable belief' means an honest belief in the guilt of the accused based upon reasonable grounds of the existence of several circumstances 'which assuming them to be true would reasonably lead an ordinary prudent and cautious man placed in the position of the accuser to the conclusion that the person charged is probably guilty of the crime imputed. In Abdul Kareem v .State of Mysore, 1972 Criminal Law Journal 217, the learned Judge of Mysore High Court observed that :

'IF the circumstances are such that a reasonable man would be led by a chain of probable reasoning to the conclusion or inference that the articles that were found in the possession of the accused were stolen properties, although the circumstances may fall short of carrying absolute conviction to his mind on the point, a person must be held to have 'reason to believe'.'

(7) I am in respectful agreement with the approach of the learned Judge to the problem

(8) The question for consideration, thereforee, is whether the circumstances of the instant case justify the inference of guilt against the person. The answer must necessarily be in the negative. T he mere fact that the petitioner on seeing the police turned back towards the staircase would not warrant the inference that the watch which was found in his possession, was stolen property. He was without a railway ticket or a platform ticket. That may well be the reason for his being apprehensive of the police and attempting to escape. Further, the facts that he could not produce any proof of ownership of the watch is of hardly any consequence. Nobody is supposed to carry with him the proof of an article like a watch on his person. As for the confession made to the police about his having removed the same from the wrist of some passenger while the train Frontier Mail was standing at the out signal, suffice it to say that it is not at all admissible in evidence and cannot be looked at for any purpose whatsoever. Apparently, thereforee, the petitioner was apprehended by the police on mere suspicion, there being no sufficient cause for believing that the watch in question was stolen property.

(9) As a result, this revision petition must succeed. The impugned notice is thereforee, set aside and the petitioner is discharged.


Save Judgments// Add Notes // Store Search Result sets // Organizer Client Files //