1. The charge against the petitioner was that on 25th October, 1945, he was found storing large quantities of mill made cloth for sale without a licence in contravention of Clause 4 of the Madras Cloth Dealers) Control Order, 1944. The Sub-Divisional Magistrate, Rajahmundry, discharged the petitioner under Section 253(i) of the Code of Criminal Procedure on the ground that there was no 'legal evidence on record,' justifying the presumption that the cloth found with the accused was stored for sale. There was an application by the Crown to revise the order of discharge and the learned Sessions Judge' set aside the order and directed the District Magistrate by himself or by any other Subordinate Magistrate to make a further enquiry into the case of the accused. The petitioner seeks, to revise the order of the learned Sessions Judge.
2. There can be no doubt that on 25th October, 1945, at about 6 p.m. the Textile-Control Officer, Rajahmundry, seized a large quantity of cloth from the accused. The Textile Control Officer then examined the accused and recorded a statement from him, Ex. C and he further took down another statement on the next day, Ex. C-1. According to these statements it is clear that the cloth was purchased and stored by the accused with the intention of selling. The prosecution relied upon (1) the statements made by the accused above referred to Exs. C and C-1 (2) the quantity of cloth found which was beyond the ordinary household requirements, and (3) the deposition of P.W. 5 a licensed dealer in cloth, who deposed that a commission agent brought a dealer to the accused and offered to arrange for the sale of the cloth stored by the accused. The Sub-Divisional Magistrate rejected the evidence of P.W. 5 as unreliable. Though he did not reject Exs. C and C-1 completely from evidence he refused to attach any importance to them. He appeared to be satisfied with the explanation of the accused that the large quantity of cloth was stored in anticipation of marriages in his house. He, therefore, thought that there was no legal evidence from which it could be inferred that the cloth, stored was for sale.
3. The learned Sessions Judge agreed with the trial Magistraterat P.W. 5 was not a reliable witness but he came to the conclusion that there was legal evidence which rendered the order of discharge unreasonable and improper. He relied in particular on the statements, Exs. C. and C-1 and the quantity and nature of the cloth seized.
4. It was contended by the learned advocate for the petitioner that the statements Exs. C and C-1 would be inadmissible in evidence because they must be held to have been caused by inducement, threat or promise having reference to the charge against the accused person proceeding from a person in authority within the meaning of Section 24 of the Indian Evidence Act. This contention was based entirely in the statements in cross-examination of P.W. 1, the Textile Control Officer, namely:
I asked him to tell me the truth. I was putting questions off and on while he was making the statement, to elicit information.
It may also be mentioned that the officer definitely denied that he promised to help the accused before he recorded the statements, Exs. C and C-1. The learned advocate relied upon a ruling in Hashmat Khan v. The Crown I.L.R.(1934) Lah. 856. It is very difficult to derive any assistance from decisions which are based upon the evidence and the circumstances of the particular case in applying them to the facts of the case on hand. Actually in the Lahore case the words used were 'Achha hoga agar sach bataoge' 'These do not correspond in any sense with the words ' I asked him to tell me the truth.' On the other hand the learned Public Prosecutor has drawn my attention to a ruling of this Court in Public Prosecutor v. Boya Obigadu and Ors. (1935) M.W.N. (Crl.) 151. The village munsiff in that case said to the accused 'There has been a burglary. I suspect you: Tell the truth.' It was held that these words did not amount to a threat or inducement within the meaning of Section 24 of the Evidence Act-to make a confession by the accused to the village munsiff inadmissible.
5. There is no independent evidence of the circumstances under which these statements were recorded nor does it appear that the accused himself made any statement alleging that the confessions were the result of inducement or threat by the Textile Control Officer. I am, therefore, unable to accept the contention that Exs. C and C-1 are inadmissible. What value should be attached to them in the final determination of the guilt of the accused it is not necessary for me to state at this stage.
6. It was next contended by Mr. Balaparameswari Rao for the petitioner that the learned Sessions Judge ought not to have interfered in revision with the order of discharge passed by the Sub-Divisional Magistrate. He tried to support his contention by relying on certain observations in Parasharam Bhika v. Emperor I.L.R.(1932) 57 Bom. 430 and Kumaraswami Mudali v. Kaliammal (1937) M.W.N. (Crl.) 332. But I do not find anything in either decision which can be said to lay down a general rule or rule of thumb to apply in each case and decide automatically whether a revision is justified or not. In Parashamm Bhika v. Emperor I.L.R.(1932) 57 Bom. 430 the learned Judges held that an order of discharge made after hearing all the prosecution evidence should not be set aside unless it could be said that the order was perverse or manifestly unreasonable and inconsistent with an honest appreciation of the evidence before the Court and that the criterion was not whether a revising Court agreed with the order of discharge but whether it was rational in the sense that it could not be fairly described as perverse or manifestly contrary to the evidence. The criterion certainly reduces the whole question to a question of fact depending upon the circumstances and evidence in each case.
7. In Kumaraswami Mudali v. Kaliammal (1937) M.W.N. (Crl.) 332. Pandrang Row, J., concluded his judgment thus:
The learned Sessions Judge ought in my opinion to have declined to interfere in these circumstances. Though it cannot be laid down as a general rule that there should be no revision of an order of discharge when there has been only misappreciation of evidence, in the present case there is not such misappreciation of the evidence as required a further enquiry by another Magistrate.
In other words it means that there is no general rule which can be applied in every case without reference to the facts of the particular case (vide the case reported in Harichandra Reddi v. Syed Khasim Sahib (1937) M.W.N. (Crl.) 256 .
8. In this case the Sub-Divisional Magistrate thought that there was no legal evidence on record from which it could be inferred that the large quantity found with the accused was stored for sale. The learned Sessions Judge in his order pointed out that certainly there was legal evidence from which it could be inferred that the cloth stored was for sale. In these circumstances it was permissible, I would even go further and add that it was necessary for the learned Sessions Judge to have set aside the order of discharge and to have directed further enquiry. There is no reason, whatever, to interfere with his order. The criminal revision petition is dismissed.