1. The appellant; in this ease was the village Magistrate of Pedda Yekkalur. He has been convicted under Section 211, Indian Penal Code, in respect of the fact that in a report by him to a Police Officer on February 4, 1934, he has falsely included in the list of accused who committed dacoity at his house the name of his inveterate enemy, Bala Rangayya. I need not discuss the merits of the case, whether Bala Gangayya was or was not x present or whether the accused knew that he was not present and, therefore, made a false statement in the report which he gave to the Police, because the- conviction of the appellant has in my opinion to be set aside on another grouud of law.
2. Under Section 211, Indian Penal Code, the person who institutes or causes to be instituted any criminal proceeding against any person with intent to cause injury to him and knowing that there is no lawful or just ground for such proceeding, is guilty of an offence. In the present case, what is alleged for the appellant is that the person who instituted this criminal proceeding was not the accused but his mother. The evidence of P. W. No. 2, the head constable, is of great importance to this connection. What he says is this:
At 5 p. m. on February 4, 1934, the mother of this accused came to me and told me that paddy was spread and dried in front of the accused's house. When Bala Kangayya and men belonging to his party came and quarrelled near the paddy, that there was rioting or fighting (in Telugu), going on between them and the accused and his men.
3. It is argued by the learned Public Prosecutor that this information does not amount to a complaint of any cognisable offence, but it seems to me that this is a clear complaint of rioting on the part of Bala Kangayya and his men. It is true that this complaint was not recorded in writing by the head constable as it ought to have been under Section 154 of the Criminal Procedure Code, but the fact remains that a complaint of a cognizable offence had been made by a person other than the accused. It must, therefore, follow that any statement made to the Police Officer by the accused after that complaint had been received, however, false it might have been, is a statement made in Police investigation and cannot be made the foundation of a prosecution under Section 211, because it is not this statement which set the law in motion nor can the prosecution be said to have been instituted by it. A clear authority for this is found in In re Krishna Baipadithaya 20 MLJ 132, 5 Ind. Cas. 908; 8 MLT 87; 11 Cr. L.J. 286. The learned Sessions Judge, however, has rejected this argument on the ground that the information given by the appellant's mother was indefinite and he relies on a ruling reported in Public Prosecutor v. Chidambaram 55 MLJ 231 : 110 Ind. Cas. 461 : AIR 1928 Mad. 791 : 29 Cr. LJ 717 : 28 LW 187 : 10 AI Or. R 388, which he interprets as laying down the law as follows:
Where indefinite information given by any person is not reduced to writing and a Police Officer goes to get correct information regarding the truth of an incident reported, investigation does not commence till he gets the information and begins to act on it.
4. An examination of this case will, however, show that the facts dealt with therein are quite distinct from our present case. In that case, the so-called indefinite information was contained in a telegram, and it was pointed out by the learned Judges who decided the case that there is no guarantee of the authenticity of a telegram and that no Police Officer can regard as the complaint of a cognizable offence, information the authenticity of which he cannot be certain of. Therefore, until in that case the Police Officer in question had gone and found that the sending of the telegram was confirmed by the oral statement made by the same complainant, the investigation was held not to have begun. It does not seem to me that that case can possibly be used as an authority against the appellant in the present case. The appellant, therefore, must be held not guilty under Section 211, Indian Penal Code. This appeal is allowed. His conviction is set aside and he is directed to be set unconditionally at liberty.