1. The petitioners were found in a common gaming house and all of them, with the exception of the 14th--and possibly of the 28th--accused, were found gaming. At the time of the search all the money found on their persons was seized by the Police; and the Magistrate ordered the confiscation of all that money. That order was upheld on appeal. These petitions were admitted on the question as to how far the Magistrate was justified in ordering the confiscation of the money found on the persons of the petitioners.
2. Section 5 of the Madras Gaming Act authorises the police officer making the search
to seize all instruments of gaining and all monies and securities for money and articles of value reasonably suspected to have been used or intended to be used for the purpose of gaming which are found therein . . .
Under Section 10 of the same Act, the trial Magistrate may order all or any of the articles seized or the proceeds of the same to be forfeited. It is thus seen from these two sections that there is no necessity on the part of the prosecution to prove that the' money seized from persons in the gaming house was used or even intended to be used for gaming; because the Police are entitled to seize on reasonable suspicion. Where the Magistrate considers that the articles were seized on reasonable suspicion, he is entitled to order them to be confiscated. It is extremely difficult to be sure in any case whether or no money found on a person in a gaming house is intended to be used for purposes of gaming. A man might take a large sum of money in his pocket hoping to win, and therefore to use very little money. Yet he may be prepared, if necessary, to stake the whole of what he has in his possession, rather than leave the gaming, house a leser. Both the Magistrates have brought their minds to bear on this question and they were satisfied that all the petitioners intended to use the money found on their persons for the purpose of gaming. I am unable to say that there is no foundation for such a finding.
3. A special plea has been made with regard to accused 14 and 28, who were said not to have been gaming at the time. The judgment discloses that the 28th accused was found gaming; but even if he was not, I find it difficult to distinguish the case of these two petitioners from the others. It may be true that they were not gaming at that moment; but under Section 5, they may be presumed to have been there for the purpose of gaming. If so, they may have won that money just before the raid was made or may have intended to play with that money afterwards. Under these circumstances, I do not find any reason to interfere with the very wide discretion which the Magistrate has in a matter of this kind.
4. The petitions are dismissed.