1. The accused pleaded guilty before the Seventh Presidency Magistrate for an offence under Section 49-A(3) of the Madras City Police Act in that he received bets on New York Cotton prices on 22-1-1958 at 7-30 p.m. at Muthiah Mudali Garden, Ice House.
2. The prosecution had cited four witnesses to speak to these facts and the seizure of Rs. 4 cash, 12 betting slips bearing the letter M, a small pencil and a carbon slip.
3. The accused, apparently realising the overwhelming evidence against him, has pleaded guilty after the charge was explained to him, and he having done so, only the extent and legality of the sentence alone is open for consideration.
4. The point taken that the accused was not furnished with copies of statements and documents in police investigation under Section 173 (4), Cri. P.C. is without any substance.
5. Under the amended Code, copies have to he prepared and furnished to accused in all cases where there was police investigation under Chapter IV and this should he done before the commencement of inquiry or trial. But while there arc provisions in Section 207-A (3) and Section 251-A (1) requiring the Magistrate to satisfy himself that the documents referred to under Section 173 had been furnished to the accused before commencement of committal enquiry or warrant case, there is no such corresponding provision with regard to the trial of summons cases.
6. But the difference docs not mean much because the accused can always bring it to the notice of the Magistrate even in a summons case that the provision in Section 173 has not been complied with and it would then he the duty of the Magistrate to see that it is complied with before proceeding further with the case.
7. In this case, there is no reason to believe that copies of the documents and statements were not furnished by the police, and secondly, the accused voiced no grievance of not being supplied with copies of the statements and documents and, in fact, he pleaded guilty.
8. It is only now, having been convicted and sentenced to six weeks' imprisonment for which apparently he did not bargain, the accused has thought of this non-furnishing of copies before the Seventh Presidency Magistrate. There is no substance in this point.
9. But the accused is said to be a lame shopkeeper with a large family. By sending him back to jail, we would be depriving that family of its bread-winner. On the other hand, a sharp fine, and as the offence involves a breach of the peace, because, legitimately, all citizens with a civic consciousness would, when they see this blatant gambling, would be provoked to commit a breach of the peace, a binding over under Section 106, Cri. P. C. would also be appropriate.
10. In the result, the sentence is reduced to the period of imprisonment already undergone and a fine of Rs. 50 imposed; in default, two weeks' rigorous imprisonment. Time to nay the fine six weeks. In addition, the accused will execute a bond in a sum of Rs. 50 before the Seventh Presidency Magistrate within ten days from the date of this order binding himself to keep the peace and be of good behaviour for a period of six months.
11. Sentence reduced.