M. Anantanarayanan, J.
1. The revision proceeding involves a point of some interest, with regard to the interpretation of Section 75 of the Madras City Police Act (III of 1888). We may take it as established on the facts and evidence that, according to the Court below, the two revision petitioners (A-1 and A-2) were found guilty of riotous and disorderly behaviour in a public place. They were each sentenced under Section 75 to a fine of Rs. 35 or to rigorous imprisonment for one week in default.
2. As is well known, Section 75 reads as follows:
Whoever is found drunk and incapable of taking care of himself, is guilty of any riotous, disorderly or indecent behaviour in any public place, in any place of public amusement shall be liable on conviction to a fine not exceeding fifty rupees, or imprisonment not exceeding one month, or to both.
3. I have omitted the middle part of the section, which is immaterial for our present purpose. The question is whether the part of the section that I have 'set forth punishes only the persons who are both drunk and incapable of taking care of themselves and are in addition guilty of riotous, disorderly or indecent behaviour in a public place ; or whether the section should be read disjunctively, so that both the persons found drunk and incapable of taking care of themselves in any public place, and persons guilty of riotous, disorderly or indecent behaviour in a public place, who may not be drunk at all, are punishable in respect of the offence. The matter seems to have come upon several occasions before this Court, and Subba Rao, J., in Angamuthn v. The King : (1948)2MLJ598 states that a disjunctive reading of the section, namely, that both persons found drunk and incapable of taking care of themselves in a public place and equally persons, who may not be drunk, but are guilty of riotous, disorderly or indecent behaviour in a public place, are punishable, has been accepted by this Court for about 25 years. The learned Judge also refers to an unreported decision of Wallace, J. in which Wallace, J., observed that the alternative interpretation would be ' almost ludicrous when viewed along with the general intention and scope of the Act '. Horwill, J., pointed out in Kanniya Rao v. Emperor (1944) 2 M.L.J. 322 that being drunk and incapable of taking care of oneself was itself a separate offence under Section 75. Recently Ramakrishnan, J., has occassion to comment upon this, incidentally, in Anantharaman v. Ramaswamy : (1962)2MLJ225 and the learned Judge observed that these two ingredients of Section 75 were alternative, the alternative being implied between the first two clauses, of Section 75. It is interesting to note that Subba Rao, J., in Angamuthu v. The King : (1948)2MLJ598 that I have referred to earlier, pointed out that the section had to be amended, in the interest of clear-expression of legislative intent, and that, though the learned Judge had doubts on the construction of Section 75, that had been uniformly adopted, he accepted that construction on the principle of stare decisis.
4. I think that another powerful ground can be furnished why the interpretation should be disjunctive, and not additive. This is apart from the fact that according to the terms of the section, there is a comma after the words ' whoever is found drunk and incapable of taking care of himself'. The reason is that, if we adopt the alternative interpretation, not only does it mean that a sober person who is guilty of riotous, disorderly or indecent behaviour in a public place is not punishable under that section at all, but it also means that only persons who are drunk and incapable of taking care of themselves, and in that state are guilty of committing riotous, disorderly or indecent acts, are punishable under Section 75. A person who is not merely drunk but is also incapable of taking care of himself will presumably be incapable of any act at all, and might be immobolised, or in a stupor. It could not have been the intention of the Legislature that, in addition to being drunk and deprived of even the faculty of taking care of himself in a public place, the person must also commit some riotous, disorderly or indecent act, to come within the mischief of the section. Consequently, with respect, I adopt the interpretation of the learned Judges in the earlier precedents that I have referred to. It follows that the present revision petitioners were rightly convicted, though there was no evidence that they were drunk and incapable of taking care of themselves on the occasion of the offence. The Revision Petition is accordingly dismissed.