1. The accused Jnananjan Niyogi has been charged under Section 124-A, I.P.C., in regard to a speech made by him on 16th June last at Hazra Park, Bhowanipur. He has been convicted and sentenced to rigorous imprisonment for one year, and against that he now appeals.
2. As stated by the learned Magistrate the evidence shows that the meeting lasted from about 6-30 to 9p.m., that about 4000 persons attended composed mostly of young men and students, and about 100 volunteers dressed in a khaki uniform also attended. The occasion was a gathering in memory of the late Mr. C.R. Das.
3. The speaker begins by reminding his audience of the faith that Mr. Das had had in the nation, and his belief in its future, his desire to build up its strength; that the people of this country would be able to bring about a revolution on the face of the earth; that possessed with a new idea the Bengalis would be able to create that revolution. At first, he goes on, no one would accept him
but the force of revolution latent in Bengali danced a mad dance in his heart, roared and having crowned with success the new revolution showed the world that the Bengali could think on new lines, see in a new light and again tread the path of creation. What has he left for us to-day? that force of revolution,
4. Then again:
Just now Nripendra remarked that today we were not merely desirous of destroying dyarchy. Why? Because the immense force which lies in the soul of Deshbandhu can create a new path.
5. Shortly afterwards we get this:
We do not still believe that the whole world has really admitted that the English are carrying on the administration of our country against our consent. We want to convince the world that the English carry us along against our consent, We want to convince it that we do not accept their unfair administration and ordinance. We know that we do not accept,
6. Then there is a call to tell the English that Government cannot be carried on in this country by neglecting public opinion. Then attention is directed to the misery and poverty of the country, and how Mr. Das offered his life 'to crown with success the independent rule', destroying and ending the subjection of the country. The revolutionary force envisaged by Mr. Das is then put forward as a cure for the 'agony of subjection.'
So, with our creed of revolution in our hearts we. say that we shall build up the country, we shall build up the nation, we shall not look expectantly towards the English. After 150 years of English administration we have throughly realized that the French are not our enemies, Germany is not our enemy. Italy is not our enemy, our only enemy is the English. It is our right to curtail their strength and their talent.
7. Of this last passage it has been argued on behalf of the appellant that the contradistinction of French and Germans goes to show that the economic feature is that on which the speaker is insisting. From the above passages cited, and reading the article as a whole, we note that the learned Magistrate has come to the conclusion that although in one way the speech was an exhortation to his audience to emulate the example of Mr. C.R. Das, the whole tenor is a tirade against the present Government of the land and for its complete overthrow. The speech, he says, is delivered with a venom which is sure to excite feeling of hostility and hatred to Government. Naturally it is one thing' to hold up an admired character as a pattern, and quite another to vilify the British by contrast; but a speaker cannot be allowed to use the former as a cloak for the latter if the result of what he says in fact be to inspire his audience with hatred and disaffection towards Government. Our duty is only to say whether we consider he has brought himself within the terms of Section 124-A, and although we are not prepared to say that we are at one with the Magistrate in his wholesale condemnation, we think that at certain points in his speech the boundary line is undoubtedly overstepped, particularly having regard to the nature of his audience. Especially is this so even upon a fair, free and liberal construction when he refers to the unfair administration and ordinance of the English, and again when he speaks of the English being our only enemy.
8. Mention must be made of the written statement filed by the accused. It does not affect the intention of the accused, which is to be derived from a construction of the speech itself. Nevertheless it is a matter to be taken into consideration, and shows how the accused is minded. It does him no good, at any rate. He impugns the good faith of even the highest judicial tribunals; he makes the statement that England and England alone has driven Bengal from literacy into dismal illiteracy, and, in a later passage, that England has strangled the commerce and manufactures of India. We cannot agree that the speech was calculated primarily to emphasise, as the written statement suggests, the economic adversity of India with a view to appeal to his hearers to emulate the sacrifice and self-reliance of Mr. Das. The language goes far beyond that. We think that the conviction was right and must be upheld. The sentence we think is more than is demanded by the circumstances.
9. We reduce the sentence from one year's to three months' rigorous imprisonment.
10. The appellant will surrender to his bail forthwith and serve out the remaining portion of the sentence.