Venkatasubba Rao, J.
1. The Head Constable entered the house in question and found in a room three of the articles alleged to have been stolen. Before the constable could remove them, the accused caused the door of the room to be shut. The accused also threatened to kill the constable if he removed the articles. In these circumstances, the question to be decided is whether any offence has been committed under Section 186, Indian Penal Code. In other words, do the acts proved constitute obstruction of a public servant in the discharge of his public functions? I have not the slightest doubt that the offence had been committed. The learned Vakil for the accused relies upon Queen-Empress v. Somanna 15 M.P 221 : 2 M.L.J. 120 : 1 Wair 133 : 5 Ind. Dec. (N.S.) 505 and argues that the closing of the door does not amount to an obstruction. I do not think this case is an authority for this proposition. Whether there is an obstruction is a question of fact. What was held in that case was that failure to open a door to let a public servant in was not an offence under the section. The learned Judges say:
The use of the word 'voluntarily' seems to us to indicate that the Legislature contemplated the commission of some overt act of obstruction, and did not intend to render penal mere passive conduct. It was not asserted that petitioner barricaded his doors or assaulted the Commissioner, or took any active step to oppose the execution of the commission. He merely shut himself up in his house and took no notice of the Commissioner.
2. It is assumed in the judgment that the accused in that case were guilty merely of a passive act, namely, that of not opening the door to enable the officer to get into the house. The facts proved in this case are very different. By the physical act of shutting the door and by the threat referred to above which the accused were in a position to carry out, they prevented the constable from discharging his public duties. I think the conviction must stand. Having regard, however to all the circumstances, the sentence imposed appears to be excessive. I reduce the fine to Rs. 50 in the case of each of the accused and direct that the excess fine, if it has been paid, shall be refunded. In default of payment of fine each will undergo rigorous imprisonment for a week.