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In Re: Samba Pillai and ors. - Court Judgment

LegalCrystal Citation
SubjectCriminal
CourtChennai
Decided On
Judge
Reported in35Ind.Cas.823
AppellantIn Re: Samba Pillai and ors.
Cases ReferredFateh Singh v. Emperor
Excerpt:
penal code (act xlv of i860), section 148 - 'lawfully in possession,' significance of--going armed with sticks to recover possession from trespasser, whether amounts to rioting. - .....party entered upon the land and began to plough it. the accused party thereupon went to the field armed, as it is said by the magistrate, with deadly weapons for the purpose of getting possession from the opposite party. the magistrate says that the complainant's party was lawfully in possession. i am unable to follow him in this. the learned public prosecutor says that, if a party during the absence of the person who was previously in possession has possession of the property, he must be deemed to have been lawfully in possession. that would mean that unless the party who was entitled to the property and who was in possession also is always on the land, anybody can enter upon it and say that he is in peaceful possession, a person who has been found to have reaped the crops and to.....
Judgment:
ORDER

Seshagiri Aiyar, J.

1. In this case, the facts found are that in the early part of the year the accused had sown the crops and harvested them. Subsequently, after the harvest, the complainant's party entered upon the land and began to plough it. The accused party thereupon went to the field armed, as it is said by the Magistrate, with deadly weapons for the purpose of getting possession from the opposite party. The Magistrate says that the complainant's party was lawfully in possession. I am unable to follow him in this. The learned Public Prosecutor says that, if a party during the absence of the person who was previously in possession has possession of the property, he must be deemed to have been lawfully in possession. That would mean that unless the party who was entitled to the property and who was in possession also is always on the land, anybody can enter upon it and say that he is in peaceful possession, A person who has been found to have reaped the crops and to have been in possession of the property must be deemed to be lawfully in possession; and any body who disturbs his possession must be taken to be a trespasser. Under those circumstances the question is whether the accused were justified in going to the field with sticks, because I take the term deadly weapon' to be synonymous with sticks' in this case, as it is not urged that they had any other weapon. Of course if the accused had bean charged with causing hurt, that would have been a different matter. They are only charged under Section 148. Following the ruling in Fateh Singh v. Emperor 20 Ind. Cas. 140 : 14 Cri. L.J. 380 which shows that in maintaining the right to possession the accused are entitled to go armed with lathis, I am of opinion that' the conduct of the accused party in going to the field with a number of people armed with sticks does not constitute them members of an unlawful assembly. They took the sticks to protect themselves and not to use it on the opposite party without provocation. I must, therefore, reverse the conviction of the accused; the fines, if paid, must be refunded.


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