Sankaran Nair, J.
1. The petitioner, Vyasa Row, was convicted of having received bribes on three occasions, the 13th August 1908, the 6th February 1909 and the 30th April 1909. The conviction for having received illegal gratification on the 6th February has been set aside by Abdur Rahim and Ayling JJ. As to the other two charges, Abdur Rahim J. was of opinion that the conviction is based only on the evidence of accomplices, and as such uncorroborated testimony cannot be accepted except under special circumstances which do not exist in this case, the conviction should be set aside Mr. Justice Ayling, on the other hand, was of opinion that the conviction on such uncorroborated testimony is not illegal, though ordinarily it should be corroborated, and therefore there is no reason for this Court to interfere in revision.
2. Both the learned Judges held that the appellant is not entitled to a fresh trial and the conviction is not illegal on the ground that the petitioner was not allowed to cross-examine the witnesses.
3. On account of this difference of opinion the case has been placed before me.
4. It will be observed that with reference to both these charges the lower courts have not based their conviction on what they consider to be the uncorroborated testimony of accomplices. Under Section 133 of the Indian Evidence Act, a conviction, even if based only on such testimony, is not illegal. In a Jury case a Judge does not direct a jury to acquit if the case depended only on such evidence, but advises them not to give credit to it, and, if they convict, even after they are told they ought not to believe it, the conviction will not be disturbed. So, if the lower courts had, for any special reasons, convicted the petitioner upon the sole testimony of accomplices after having their attention drawn to the rule that such testimony should not be believed without corroboration, then I think it is not, except' for seeing that there are special reasons, a case in which the High Court should interfere in revision; but as in this case the courts are of opinion that such evidence has been corroborated, it becomes necessary to consider whether the corroboration is what is required by law, and, if there is no corroboration, whether the conviction should be sustained on the evidence of accomplices alone.
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[His Lordship next proceeded to deal with the evidence and concluded as follows. - ED.]
5. I am unable to hold therefore that the evidence of the accomplices has been corroborated. I have also given my reasons for disbelieving their story.
6. On the other question argued, I am of opinion that the petitioner was not entitled to recall the witnesses for cross-examination after the case had been closed. But it is not clear whether it is the prosecution or defence that has suffered on this account. As usual in this country, in examination-in-chief the bare outline of the prosecution case was stated by the witnesses, leaving all the difficulties to be explained in cross-examination, and in this case, unfortunately, there are many facts which have not been explained. It is true it was the fault of the petitioner that there was no cross-examination, but in this case, in the circumstances, I am not prepared to draw any presumption against the petitioner. I acquit the prisoner and set aside the conviction and sentence. The bail bond is discharged.