1. The petitioner has been sentenced to pay a fine of Rs. 25 for an offence punishable under Section 118-I(a)(ii) of the Cantonment Act of using threatening, abusive or insulting words; and he has also been bound over for a period of two years.
2. As it was a summary trial it was not necessary that the Magistrates should record what the prosecution witnesses actually said; but it was necessary in convicting him to give a brief statement of the reasons. It can hardly be said that the Magistrates have done that. All they have said is 'We have heard both sides at length and unanimously . . . convict Govindan (Petitioner)'. A brief statement of their reasons would necessitate at least a short summary of what the prosecution witnesses had said, so as to indicate that the evidence had made out the case with which the accused had been charged, and also an indication that the Magistrates had believed that evidence. If there was defence evidence, it would further perhaps be necessary to say why they preferred the evidence of the prosecution to that of the defence.
3. The Magistrates have also not made it clear what the petitioner's case was, except to say that he admitted that there was quarrelling.
4. It is also not clear how the Magistrates came to the conclusion that the petitioner had been previously convicted; for he denies this. The Magistrates could act on previous convictions only if they had been proved or if the accused had admitted them. The last two sentences in the order under Section 106, Criminal Procedure Code, rather suggest that the police had asserted from the Bar that the accused had been previously convicted, rather than that the accused himself admitted it.
5. As in addition to the fine-which is not unreasonable-the accused has been bound over for a long period with very substantial sureties, I think that this case should be tried again.
6. The conviction and sentence and the order under Section 106 are therefore set aside and a retrial ordered.