1. This Rule arises with reference to the case of a man named Rabindra Nath Mazumdar who was placed on his trial in respect of a charge under Section 408, Penal Code. He was duly convicted and sentenced to undergo a period of rigorous imprisonment for three months and to pay a fine of Rs. 100, in default further rigorous imprisonment for two weeks. The case against him was to the effect that, while he was employed as a tern-porary clerk of the Patiya Urban Co-operative Bank, he committed criminal breach of trust in respect of certain items of money which totalled Rs. 9-9-9. It may be mentioned that he was jointly tried with four other persons who were accused of abetting the criminal breach of trust which had been committed by the petitioner. In the first place, Mr. Talukdar has argued on behalf of the petitioner that the findings at which the learned Judge has arrived are not sufficient to warrant his conviction. With regard to this point we are of opinion that the findings contained in the judgment of the lower appellate Court are quite sufficient and they amount to findings of fact with regard to all the necessary ingredients of an offence under Section 408, Penal Code. This portion of the learned advocate's argument cannot be accepted.
2. Mr. Talukdar has, however, argued with some force that the trial of the petitioner was vitiated owing to the fact that his joint trial with the four persons who were accused of abetment was illegal having regard to the provisions of Section 239, Criminal P.C. Mr. Ahmad, on the other hand, contends that the petitioner's trial satisfied all the requirements of the law and, in particular, he places considerable reliance upon the provisions of SSection 222 and 223, Criminal P.C. In support of his argument Mr. Talukdar contends that, according to the form of the charge, the petitioner was charged in respect of three separate offences under Section 408, Penal Code and that the four abettors who were jointly tried with him were also charged in respect of three sepa-rate abetments. In this connexion, he contends that, even if it be admitted that the petitioner himself was properly charged under Section 408, Penal Code, there is no provision of the Code under which an abettor of the principal offence can be tried jointly with the principal accused in respect of three separate abetments. It is clear from the judgment of the learned Magistrate in the trial Court that he considered that the petitioner had been charged in respect of one offence only having regard to the provisions of Section 222 (2), Criminal P.C. This Sub-section reads as follows:
When the accused is charged with criminal breach of trust or dishonest misappropriation of money, it shall be sufficient to specify the gross sum in respect of which the offence is alleged to have been committed, and the dates between which the offence is alleged to have been committed, without specifying particular items or exact dates, and the charge so framed shall be deemed to be a charge of one offence within the meaning of Section 234.
3. In the charge against Rabindra Nath Mazumdar the period has been mentioned during which the alleged defalcations were made. The gross sum defalcated has not been separately mentioned, but it was quite easy to ascertain the gross total by adding together the totals of the three separate items which had been mentioned. It seems to me that the charge as framed substantially complied with the provisions of Section 222, but the learned Magistrate appears to have given more details in the charge than the section expressly required in Order to enable the accused to know precisely the case which he had to meet. The procedure which was adopted by the learned Magistrate in this respect was exactly what seems to have been contemplated by the Legislature in Section 223 of the Code which provides that:
When the nature of the case is such that the particulars mentioned in Sections 221 and 222 do not give the accused sufficient notice of the matter with which he is charged, the charge shall also contain such particulars of the manner in which the alleged offence was committed as will be sufficient for that purpose.
In this view of the case there can, I think, be no doubt that the offence with which Rabindra Nath Mazumdar was charged must be regarded as one offence within the meaning of Section 22, Criminal P.C. in spite of the fact that the separate details with regard to several alleged embezzlements on various dates had been mentioned. In view of the considerations mentioned above, it would appear that the four alleged abettors were properly placed on their trial with the principal accused. in view of the provisions of Section 239 (b), Criminal P.C. the relevant portion of which reads as follows:
239. The following persons may be charged and tried together, namely: ... (b) persons accused of an offence and persons accused of abetment, or of an attempt to commit such offence;....
No question of misjoinder or illegality with regard to the procedure adopted at the trial can therefore arise. We think that the petitioner has been properly convicted and this Rule must accordingly be discharged. The petitioner must surrender to his bail and serve out the remaining term of his sentence.
4. I agree.