K.N. Mudaliyar, J.
1. This is an appeal filed by one S. Chinnaswamy, the accused-appellant, against the order of the Second Presidency Magistrate, Madras convicting the accused for an offence under Section 65 of the City Police Act. I extract here below the substance of the accusation filed by the Sub Inspector of Police. On the basis of the said accusation, the charge is supposed to have been read out to the accused. The averment in the charge-sheet is as follows:
That on 27.10.1969 at about 4.45 hours at W.Q. III Wharf Harbour, the accused noted in the charge-sheet was found in possession of a cloth bundle containing about 5 litres of boiled rice which was suspected to be a stolen property or property fraudulently obtained from the Harbour.
Hence the charge....
The learned Magistrate questioned the accused under Section 241 Cr.P.C. He has recorded as follows:
A (accused) admits the offence. (Original in Tamil transliterated 'Un-maidaan' - Ed.)
The accused is f.g. (found guilty) and admonished under Section 3 of the Probation of Offenders Act. Property to be confiscated. The learned Magistrate ought to have recorded the substance of the accusation read out to the accused and made the accused understand the implications of his pleading 'guilty'. I do not find the substance of the accusation to have been properly stated to the accused, and the plea of the accused also is not properly recorded. The entire proceedings against the accused have been marred by a haphazard and perfunctory recording.
2. There is yet another infirmity vitiating the conviction of the appellant, as gleand from the records. I do not find any endorsement from the Court records that the papers filed by the police under Section 173(4), Cr.P.C. have been served on the accused even. I have grave doubts about the accused being served with the relevant documents. On these two important legal grounds, I find the order of the Magistrate to be erroneous and against law.
3. The appellant is acquitted of the offence under Section 65 of the City Police Act. The Criminal Appeal is allowed.
4. Before parting with this case, I would comment that the Presidency Magistrates in the City of Madras may use their judicial discretion in not proceeding with the inquiry or trial immediately on the production of the accused before the Courts. In many cases, I have seen substantial grounds for holding that the accused have been tutored or lulled into pleading guilty even to very unsatisfactory and cryptically worded accusations which do not brine out the ingredients of the offence with which the accused are charged. In such cases, the Presidency Magistrates would do well, in the interests of justice, to exercise their judicial discretion and take up the cases for further hearing after one day's interval so that the accused may be enabled to contact either the lawyers or their relatives or friends for proper arrangements for their defence. In a number of cases this Court is left with a preponderant feeling that the accused have had no chance of arranging for their defences. Such an unsatisfactory stated of affairs may be easily ended by a proper exercise of judicial discretion on the part of the Presidency Magistrates by postponing the inquiry or trial by one day. The interests of justice are paramount and supreme in any scheme of the administration of law and justice. Incidentally such a procedure might involve some expenditure to the State but that should not weigh with the Courts, for the interests of justice are better subserved by postponing the hearing by a day for the facility of the accused in arranging for their defence.