1. This Rule must be made absolute. The petitioner was convicted under Section 380, Penal Code, on the allegation that he stole a trunk in the house of the complainant. The only evidence in the case was that when the trunk was recovered by the investigating officer some time after the theft, finger-prints were found on it which were identified by an expert as those of the petitioner. The only other item of evidence in the case came from the complainant who deposed that the petitioner had handled the trunk 2 or 3 days before the occurrence in the complainant's own house. This story was supported by a defence witness. But the Courts below held that the complainant had turned hostile and that the defence witness could not be believed. The learned Judge further held that as the finger prints were those of the petitioner appellant who had handled the trunk within a few hours of the theft there was a presumption against him under Section 114, Evidence Act, which presumption had not been rebutted.
2. It is more than doubtful if any presumption under Section 114, Evidence Act, could arise against any person merely because his fingerprints were found upon a piece of stolen property. Further, in the present case, it cannot be said that there was any evidence upon which the Courts below could have come to the conclusion that the petitioner was guilty of the theft in view of the explanation given by the informant himself. The rule is accordingly made absolute, the conviction of the petitioner and the sentence passed upon him are set aside and he will be discharged from his bail.