Balakrishna Ayyar, J.
1. The petnr. was convicted by the Asst. Ses. J. of Coimbatore, under Section 211, I. P. C. & sentenced to undergo R. I. for three years. His appeal to the Ses. J. having been dismissed, he has come to this Ct. in revn.
2. The material facts are the following: About 8-30 p.m. on 15-10-1947 when the petnr. Guruswami was on the verandah of his garden shed, he received certain injuries either as the result of a gun shot or as the result of the explosion of a country bomb. He was taken to the hospital at Udamaipet where he was examined & attended to by the local Asst. Surgeon. His cousin, also called Guruswami, went to the police station at Udamaipet at about 9-30 p.m. & told the Sub-Inspector & the Circle Inspector that the petnr. had been shot & that he had been brought to the hospital. The Sub-Inspector did not take down this statement of Guruswami in writing. Instead, he merely made an entry in the General Diary to this effect:
'21-30 hours. G. Guruswami Naidu of Chinnakomarapalayam stated that Sri Guruswami has been shot & the injured man has been brought to the hospital. I go to hospital with C. I. of Police Station charge with H. C. 932.'
Thereafter the Sub-Inspector & the Circle Inspector went to the hospital to see the injured man. From there on the suggestion of the doctor the Sub-Inspector went to the Sub-Mag. & took him to the Hospital. Between 9-50 & 10-5 p.m. the Sub-Mag. recorded a dying declaration from the petnr. At that time both the Sub-Inspector & the Circle Inspector were present. Half an hour later. the Sub-Inspector recorded another statement from the petnr. which was marked as Ex. P. 4 in the case. In that document the petnr. alleged that when he was sitting on the pial of his house four persons whom he named & who were examined as P. Ws. 14, 15, 17 & 24 went to the threshing floor, that they were armed with guns, that they were his enemies, that on seeing them he got up in fear & when he tried to go into the house he was shot from behind. The police investigated the case & taking the view that it was false prosecuted the petnr. under Section 211, I. P. C. The charge preferred by the petnr. was held to be false primarily for two reasons: (1) the injuries on the person of the petnr. & the traces of arsenic detected on the dhoti he was wearing at the time he was injured indicated that he had been injured as the result of the explosion of a bomb & not as the result of a shot from a gun (2) P. W. 24 whom he had named as one of his assailants had what appeared to be a reasonably good 'alibi'.
3. The first argument which Mr. Nambiar, the learned advocate for the petnr, put forward was that the Cts. below were in error in treating Ex. P. 4, the statement which the Sub-Inspector recorded from the petnr. at about 10-35 on the night of 15-10-1947, as the F. I. R. in the case. According to him the real F. I. R. in the case is the information which Guruswami Naidu, the cousin of the petnr. gave at the police station. I think there is very considerable force in his argument. It is no doubt true that Guruswami the cousin of the petnr., did not say who the offenders were or give any inkling about them, but that is not a circumstance which alters the character of that information. In quite a large number of cases the complainant does not know the name of the offender, but that would not alter the fact that the information is what is called an F. I. R. If a citizen informs the concerned station house officer that his house has been burgled the previous night, that would certainly be information relating to the commission of a cognizable offence within the meaning of Section 154, Criminal P. C., notwithstanding that the complainant is unable to say who the offenders were or even what all articles he has lost. The learned Ses. J. was inclined to take the view that the information given by the cousin Guruswami could not be treated as an information under Section 154 because as he says there was no indication in it as to whether the petnr. had been voluntarily shot or whether his injuries were the result of an accident or whether the matter was covered by some one or other of the general exceptions set out in the Penal Code. He was also influenced by the following circumstances:
'In fact, Ex. P. 7 gave less particulars than the 'Intimation of accident' form filed in & sent by medical officers, which is not usually treated as sufficient to start an investigation. P. W. 25's evidence shows that the informant C. G. Guruswami Naidu made himself scarce after giving the information. Apparently it was not possible for P. Ws. 2 & 25 to reduce the information to writing as prescribed by Section 154, Criminal P. C. It may be that the manner in which C. G. Guruswami Naidu gave the information was so suspicious that they were unable to attach any weight to the same. This might have been the reason why they proceeded to the hospital to see for themselves whether there was any foundation of truth in the information.'
It seems to me that considerations of this kind are wholly irrelevant when we have to decide whether a particular information lodged at the police station is an F. I. R. or not. Whether an alleged offence is the result of an accident or the voluntary & wrongful act of someone else or is covered by one or other of the general exceptions--these are circumstances which can be properly ascertained only during the actual investigation. The fact that the quantum of material information in Ex. P. 7 is meagre does not really affect its true nature. If a band of hooligans start looting in a bazaar & one of the residents of the locality runs up to the station & Informs the station house officer that looting is proceeding, I do not think that that report ceases to be information relating to the commission of an offence merely because the informant is unable to furnish fuller particulars. The circumstance that the informant ran away thereafter does not alter the fact that it relates to the commission of a cognizable offence & is also a report relating to It. The inability or the failure of the station house officer in the present case to reduce to writing the information brought by the cousin of the petnr. does not take away from it its character as a report relating to the commission of a cognizable offence. The omission would only show that they did not act with sufficient alacrity or were negligent. The attempt to discover whether there was any foundation of truth in the report is really a part of the investigation. A police officer conducting an investigation has to do a number of things. First of all he has to find put whether the information is true. If he considers it is true, he has next to discover who the offenders are & try to arrest them. He has to recover the properties lost as a result of the crime or connected with the crime. Lastly, he will have to collect the evidence necessary to bring the offenders to book. An enquiry the object of which is to discover whether the information is true or false is really the starting point of an investigation. I agree that mere gossip or rumour or hearsay would not ordinarily fall within the scope of Section 154, Criminal P. C. but that is because it is really not 'information' at all. Gossip & rumour are not statements relating to a crime; they are statements about statements relating to a crime; they involve no assertion about the crime & have no shape or form. They do not therefore amount to information. But if someone goes to a police station & definitely tells the officer-in-charge there that a cognizable offence has been committed & tnat statement is made with a view to inducing the police officer to enquire into the matter, I do not see how we can refuse to call it information relating to the commission of a cognizable offence within the meaning of Section 154, Criminal P. C. That in subsequently dealing with the information so furnished the police officers concerned failed to do what the Code directed them to do will not in any way change the character of that information.
4. The case of 'Chandrika Ram v. Emperor', 1 Pat 401: AIR 1922 Pat 535: 24 Cr L J 129 is in point. The headnote to the report reads as follows:
'Where a person reported to a police officer that he had seen a certain woman with her throat cut & the officer did not make a record of the fact but subsequently treated an information lodged by the woman's father as the first information in the case, held (1) that the unrecorded information was in fact the first information in the case;........& (iii) that the information given by the woman's father not being the first informationcould not be taken into consideration.'
A large number of decisions have been read beforeme by learned counsel on both sides, but I do notthink it necessary to refer to them, for, in substancewhether a particular information amounts to anF. I. R. or not is essentially a question of fact andin the present case the matter seems to be plainto my mind. I have no doubt that Ex. P. 4 onthe basis of which the petnr. was convicted wasa statement falling with the mischief of Section 162,Criminal P. C., & therefore not available to beused against him. In this view it becomes unnecessary to deal with the other questions of factraised by Mr. Nambiar. The revn. petn. is allowed & the petnr. acquitted & ordered to be setat liberty unless he be otherwise lawfully detained.