1. The petitioner was convicted of an offence punishable under Section 3. of the Police (Incitement to Disaffection) Act 1922, and sentenced to rigorous imprisonment for four months by the Sub-Divisional Magistrate, Tellicherry. On appeal the conviction was confirmed but the sentence was reduced to three months' rigorous imprisonment. The charge was based on a speech delivered by him at a public meeting held on the 30th April, 1946,at Taliparamba Road. Section 3 of the Police (Incitement to Disaffection) Act, 1922, runs as follows:
Whoever intentionally causes or attempts to cause or does any act which he knows is likely to cause disaffection towards His Majesty or the Government established by law in British India amongst the members of a police force, or induces or attempts to induce, or does any act which he knows is likely to induce, any member of a police force to withhold his services, or to commit a breach of discipline shall be punished with imprisonment which may extend to six months, or with fine which, may extend to two hundred rupees, or with both.
The particular passages which according to the lower Courts fall within this section are the. following:
It is the good for nothing persons and idiots who join the police service ...most of the present day police officials are erstwhile table cleaners in hotels and tea shops. They beat with lathis for the sake of Rs. 18.... None with honour of family greatness would join the police force. Today a policeman does not get enough food to fill his belly. He gets ration only like an ordinary man. Then why should he beat the people of the country ...If it is for their belly let them throw away the lathis and turbans and come to our Union office and join as volunteers. We would give them Rs. 20 or Rs. 25, as salary ...The life of a policeman is very pitiable. He does not get a living wage ; no food and clothing. Such is his life.... It is because they have realised the falsehood of the British Imperialism, in many places where strikes for amenities of life have commenced, the policemen and military refuse to open fire. Such a realisation has not dawned on the Malabar police ...The policemen should not molest poor country men hearing the words of the Circle Inspector, the District Superintendent of Police, the Deputy Superintendent of Police, etc.... In the event of the police of Malabar striking work, we will help to the best of our ability by calling public meetings wherein myself will be speaking and by collecting money make the strike a success.
The learned advocate for the petitioner first contended that the conviction was bad because the report of the speech by P.W. 1, the police constable who took it down, was not full and adequate. Reference was made to the admission of the constable that he noted down only portions of the speech which he considered necessary for his purpose. P.W. 1 did not know short hand and he admitted that he could not write down a speech in its entirety as it was being delivered. The learned advocate for the appellant relied on the observations in Sachin Das v. Emperor : AIR1936Cal524 ., Bal Gangadhar Tilak v. Emperor 39 Ind.Cas. 807. and Niharendu v. Emperor (1042) F.L.J. 47. No help can be derived from any of these decisions on the question raised by him. All these decisions say that the speech must be read as a whole. Undoubtedly so in the sense that a sentence or two should not be torn out of context and a conviction based purely on that part of the speech completely disregarding the tenor of the speech in its entirety. On this point I am inclined to adopt the view taken by Dalip Singh, J., in Sant Ram v. Emperor 123 Ind.Cas. 572 in dealing with a contention such as is raised in the present case, viz., that the whole of the speech had not been taken down. It was held by that learned Judge that when the whole of the speech was not taken down by the reporter but only portions and there was nothing to show that such portions as were taken down were taken down incorrectly or that the excerpts of the speech were not a fair representation of the general drift of the speech, a conviction could be based on the speech so taken down in parts. In this case we have not only the report as taken down by the police constable P.W. 1 but we have also his own evidence as to the general drift of the speech. It has not been proved that there were any serious omissions which could have given a completely different aspect to the speech. While I am anxious not to be understood to encourage a mutilated reporting of a speech to be used to support a conviction, I do not consider that it will be in the interests of justice not to support a conviction merely because every word uttered by the speaker has not been taken down verbatim.
2. Another point pressed before me was that the speech was not addressed to the members of the Police force and the evidence shows that the only policeman present was P.W. 1 who was in mufti. In my opinion it is not necessary that the words should be addressed directly to the members of the Police to attract the application of Section 3 of Act XXII of 1922. No doubt it will be a clear case when the address is directed to him. A similar contention was negatived by Horridge, J., in Rex v. Browman and Ors. 22 C Crl. L Cas. 729. It is obvious that the speaker must have intended that his words should reach the members of the Police force so that they may act according to his appeal.
3. There can be no doubt that the general trend of the speech was not only an attack on the police but was also calculated to create disaffection among them against the Government and also to incite them to go on strike. The speech would therefore fall within Section 3 of Act XXII of 1922. The accused was therefore rightly convicted and the sentence as reduced by the learned Sessions Judge cannot be said to be severe in the circumstances.
4. The revision petition is dismissed.