1. In this case the accused Rishi Haldar alias Ganga has been convicted under Section 379, Penal Code, and sentenced to pay a fine of Es. 25 in default to suffer rigorous imprisonment for three weeks. He and the other four accused have also been convicted under Section 143 of the Code and sentenced to pay a fine of Rs. 25 each, in default to suffer rigorous imprisonment for three weeks. The prosecution case was that the complainant purchased some fish from one Gopal Parui in Meherpur Bazar, that the accused Ganga snatched the fish away from his hand at the same time taking all the fishes of Gopal Parui and that when the complainant protested Ganga together with others surrounded him and threatened to assault him.
2. First as regards the charge of theft it is contended that the trial Court has dealt with the matter inadequately and has not considered whether the accused had really acted dishonestly or not. The defence was that the accused had purchased the fish in question from Gopal Parui by virtue of a contract. This defence was entirely rejected by the trial Court. The trial Court found that Gopal Parui was an outsider who sold fish to the complainant and that when the complainant had taken over the fish the transaction was complete and the possession of the complainant was a rightful one. The accused as leader of the local dealers who trying to maintain monopoly in the matter of purchase from the fishermen interfered in a high-handed manner as soon as the complainant purchased the fish from Gopal Parui who was a newcomer. It held, therefore, that the accused Ganga clearly infringed the provisions of Section 379 of the Code and in my opinion that is ample and adequate finding, it was all that was necessary in the circumstances of the case, and the facts fully justified it. There is therefore no reason to interfere with the conviction of Ganga under Section 379 of the Code or with the sentence imposed.
3. As regards the conviction of Ganga and four others under Section 143 of the Code it has been pointed out that the learned Magistrate has made one error in referring to the evidence of Nolin P.W. 3 in stating that he was a witness to the entire occurrence which he proved satisfactorily and also that he identified all the accused. In fact the witness named and identified only three of the accused; he said he did not notice the other two. It was further pointed out that the common object charged was to assault the complainant Manoranjan Pramanik. What appears to have happened was that as the dispute arose between the complainant and the accused Ganga over the snatching of the fish all the other accused came up and took the side of Ganga in the dispute. It seems doubtful, if any common object to assault the complainant has been established even accepting the prosecution evidence. The common object appears rather to have been that described in section 141 Fifth of the Penal Code. There is no suggestion in the evidence that there were more than five persons in all and in view of the flaw as regards the evidence of P.W. 3 and the doubt whether the common object charged has been made out on the evidence, I think the convictions under this section cannot be sustained. The convictions of air the accused under Section 143, Penal Code, are set aside. The fines if paid will be refunded. The accused are acquitted of the charge under Section 143 of the Code.