1. The appellant who is a Karnam is charged with fraudulent falsification of the Government accounts of his village, an offence under Section 477A of the Indian Penal Code. The Sessions Judge has dealt so fully and carefully with the facts of the case that it is sufficient for us to say that on the merits we have no doubt of the appellant's guilt. The fraud was committed by first entering the correct area cultivated in certain survey numbers in the crop accounts and collecting the appropriate assessments from the puttah and, subsequently, altering and reducing the area shown as cultivated (and, of course, also the assessment collected) and crediting the difference in the amounts to the Karnam's own puttah.
2. The appellant's Counsel raises a question as to the legality of the charge, and contends that his client is charged with six, if not nine, separate falsifications and that the charge is, therefore, illegal with reference to Sections 233 and 234, Criminal Procedure Code.
3. The charge is certainly framed vaguely and without sufficient specification of the entries charged as false; but no objection was taken before the Sessions Judge until the argument at the close of the case, nor was he asked to amend the charges. Even in this Court no objection is taken in the appeal memorandum though the appellant's Counsel now urges the objection before us. We find, too, that there was never any doubt as to the substance of the charge, and the accused was not hampered in his defence by defective form of the charge. As regards the substance of the offences charged, we think that it is legal with reference to Section 235, Criminal Procedure Code, as the several false entries were made by the Karnam in the course of one transaction, having for its object to provide for the payments due under his own puttah by fraudulently transferring to its credit three sums aggregating Rs. 139 paid by the holders of puttahs Nos. 104, 419 and 717 in respect of their Survey Nos. 351, 914 and 1048 respectively.
4. The conviction is, therefore, right and must be upheld. The offence was a systematic one by a public servant and deserves a severe sentence. We, however, think that the sentence of three years' rigorous imprisonment and Rs. 1,000, fine is too severe. We reduce it to two years' rigorous imprisonment and fine of Rs. 500, and in default six months', further rigorous imprisonment.