Pandrang Row, J.
1. The petitioners, who are 20 in number, and four others were convicted of an affray by the Sub-divisional Magistrate of Cheyyar and fined Rs. 10 each.
2. The principal objections taken to the convictions are: (1) that the occurrence was not in a public place, and (2) that there was no breach of the public peace. The second point does not seem to have been raised in the Court below; in any case, there is no reference to it in the judgment of the Magistrate. With regard to the first point, the Magistrate expressed himself as follows:
The scene of offence is an open field with no compound walls. It is a place where the public go no matter whether they have a right to go or not
3. I think this is a correct and sufficient decision on the point raised. Whether a place is public or not does not necessarily depend on the right of the public as such to go to the place, though of course a place to which the public can go as of right must be a public place. The place where the public are actually in the habit of going must be deemed to be public for the purpose of the offence of affray, for instance, place like railway platforms, theatre halls, and open spaces resorted to by the public for purposes of recreation, amusement etc. Reference has been made to a number of decisions on this point, viz., Queen-Empress v. Shri Lal (1895)17 All 166; Sukhanandan Singh v. Emperor AIR 1922 All 542; Emperor v. Babu Ram : AIR1927All560 , Emperor v Jusub Ali (1905) 29 Bom 386 and Emperor v. Hussain Nur Mahomed (1906) 30 Bom 348 and also Hari Singh v. Jadu Nandan Singh (1904) 31 Cal 542 which was approved in Emperor v. Musa AIR 1917 Mad 124. A consideration of these rulings shows that the Magistrate's view which is tersely put is substantially correct. The evidence in the case even on the side of the defence shows that there was a large crowd present at the spot, from 150 to 300 while the number of people who took part in the disturbance by throwing stones was only about 25. It is very clear from this, namely, the presence of a large crowd at the spot, that the place must have been actually a public place at the time, besides being open to access by the public.
4. As regards the second point, the presence of large numbers of the public at the time of the disturbance which took at least a quarter of an hour, shows that the members of the public must have been alarmed by reason of the disturbance and that there was sufficient breaking of the public peace within the meaning of Section 159, I.P.C. It is not necessary that any particular member of the public must give evidence to the effect that he was alarmed or frightened before a conviction can be had for an offence punishable Under Section 159, I.P.C. If it is likely that such alarm would have been caused to the public or members of the public the necessary ingredient is established. It follows therefore that there is no reason to interfere with the conviction of the petitioners in revision; and as regards the sentence it cannot be said to be unnecessarily and unduly severe. The petition is accordingly dismissed.