1. The two petitioners in this petition are jointly charged with and convicted of under Section 241 of the Indian Penal Code, of passing counterfeit coins on three different occasions on the same day to three different persons. The first and main point urged in their favour is that the joint trial contravenes Section 234 of the Criminal Procedure Code.
2. It is quite clear that the offences are of the same kind, and that either petitioner might have been tried by force of Section 234 with all three offences at the same trial. I can see no reason for restricting the scope of Section 234 to offences committed against the same person, for which position petitioner agrues. The essence of the offence in Section 241 Indian Penal Code is the delivery of counterfeit coin to any person and three deliveries of counterfeit coin to three different persons are clearly offences of the same kind within the meaning of that term as set out in Section 234 of the Criminal Procedure Code.
3. The next point taken is that even if either petitioner could have been legally tried in one trial for all the three deliveries, the joint trial of both petitioners for all the three deliveries is contrary to Section 234. I can see no force in that contention either. Section 239 lays down that when more persons than one are accused of the same offence, they may be tried together, and that 'the provisions contained in the former part of this chapter shall apply to all such charges.' that is in a trial of two accused persons jointly under Section 239, Section 234 may be also applied. The use of the singular number 'person in Section 234 is thus clearly not intended to rule out the plural number. The Calcutta High Court no doubt in its ruling quoted in Budhai Sheik v. Emperor I.L.R. (1905) Cal. 292 gives support to petitioners' view, but in the ruling reported in Kumaramuthu Pillai v. Emperor 25 M.L.T. 379 Sadasiva Aiyar, J. of this Court held that 'person' in Section 234 is not restricted to a single individual and the same view is taken by the Patna High Court in Kailash Pra-sad Varma v. Emperor (1917) 3 P.L.J. 124 and the Allahabad High Court in Emperor v. Bechan Pande (1916) 38 A. 457. This view commends itself to me for the reasons already stated. I hold therefore that there was nothing illegal in the charge framed by the trying court.
4. I am asked to reduce the sentence, but obviously the petitioners were systematically passing counterfeit coins and detection of such offence is difficult. I am not prepared to interfere and dismiss this petition.