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In Re: Chinniah Alias Krishnaswami Naidu - Court Judgment

LegalCrystal Citation
SubjectCriminal
CourtChennai
Decided On
Reported in(1924)46MLJ309
AppellantIn Re: Chinniah Alias Krishnaswami Naidu
Cases ReferredSrinivasathari and Ors. v. Rex
Excerpt:
- - if this could be set up as a defence to an indictment, any indictment for keeping a common gaming house might be defeated. 5. it is extremely unsafe to act upon the uncorroborated testimony of a witness of this sort. 3. it is somewhat remarkable that the police should have attempted to prove a case of this nature by such worthless evidence, when, according to them, it is a notorious fact that the accused keeps a common gaming house, several persons have from time to time complained and the gaming house has been kept for about ten years previous to the prosecution.ordervenkatasubba rao, j.1. the offence with which the accused is charged is that of keeping a common gaming house, punishable under section 6 of madras act iii of 1889. a common gaming house is defined thus in 15 halsbury 217: 'it is one in which a large number of persons are invited habitually to congregate for the purpose of gaming.' in jenkins v. turpin (1882) lr 13 qbd 505, hawkins, j., says: ' neither do i think it makes any difference that the use of the house and the gaming therein was limited to the subscribers and members of the club, and that it was not open to all persons who might be desirous of using the same. if this could be set up as a defence to an indictment, any indictment for keeping a common gaming house might be defeated. ' i am willing to accept this statement of.....
Judgment:
ORDER

Venkatasubba Rao, J.

1. The offence with which the accused is charged is that of keeping a common gaming house, punishable under Section 6 of Madras Act III of 1889. A common gaming house is defined thus in 15 Halsbury 217: 'It is one in which a large number of persons are invited habitually to congregate for the purpose of gaming.' In Jenkins v. Turpin (1882) LR 13 QBD 505, Hawkins, J., says: ' Neither do I think it makes any difference that the use of the house and the gaming therein was limited to the subscribers and members of the club, and that it was not open to all persons who might be desirous of using the same. If this could be set up as a defence to an indictment, any indictment for keeping a common gaming house might be defeated. ' I am willing to accept this statement of the law and I do not think that this is at variance with that contained in Srinivasathari and Ors. v. Rex 1 Weir 917, where the learned Judges, Sir Arthur Collins, C. J. and Parker, J. observe: 'In the absence of any technical definition the term ' common gaming house ' must at least imply that the house was one used as a place of public resort. ' They do not say what a place of public resort is and, in the circumstances, I am not prepared to hold that the definition given in the Madras case is necessarily opposed to that given in the English case and in Halsbury's Laws of England.

2. The next question is, has the evidence in this case established that the accused keeps a gaming house in this sense? P. W. 3, a dismissed and disreputable police constable, no doubt says, ' The accused is the owner of the house. The accused collects the pool for himself for every ' rung ' or ' run ' for the use of his house and for the cost of the cards. The accused benefits up to Rs. 12 a day, never less than Rs. 5. ' It is extremely unsafe to act upon the uncorroborated testimony of a witness of this sort. He admits that he was himself taking part in the game and then turned an informer at the request of the Police. The only independent witness who speaks to the transaction from personal knowledge is P. W. 4 and he hopelessly contradicts P. W. 3. because, according to the former the accused was himself a player and he took money from the pool whenever he happened to be the winner. P. W. 4's station in life is not such as to inspire confidence, and I am not prepared therefore to act upon evidence of this kind and convict the accused.

3. It is somewhat remarkable that the police should have attempted to prove a case of this nature by such worthless evidence, when, according to them, it is a notorious fact that the accused keeps a common gaming house, several persons have from time to time complained and the gaming house has been kept for about ten years previous to the prosecution.

4. In the circumstances I set aside the conviction and direct the fine, if it has been collected, to be refunded to the accused. The order as to confiscation is also set aside.


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