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Srimanta Manna and anr. Vs. the State - Court Judgment

LegalCrystal Citation
SubjectCriminal
CourtKolkata High Court
Decided On
Case NumberCriminal Revn. No. 1016 of 1957
Judge
Reported inAIR1960Cal519,1960CriLJ1078
ActsCode of Criminal Procedure (CrPC) , 1898 - Sections 4, 154 and 439; ;Evidence Act, 1872 - Section 24
AppellantSrimanta Manna and anr.
RespondentThe State
Appellant AdvocateKishore Mukherjee, Adv.
Respondent AdvocateHarideb Chatterjee, Adv.
Excerpt:
- .....p.w. 4 who also happened to be at the house at the time raised a hue and cry which brought to atul's house some of the villagers including p.w. 5 sk. nuruddin, p.w. 7 jadunath sanbighna, p.w. 8 iswar manna and p.w. 9 iswar bera. atul's wife p.w. 4 told these people of the theft of cash and ornaments and documents from the almirah. on the east of the house of atul there is a jute field which belonged to the accused and foot-prints were found leading to the house of srimanta. p.ws. 1, 5, 7, 8 and 9 together with others then went to the house of srimanta when srimanta was questioned about the theft and although he denied any knowledge of any such theft, after a few minutes confessed to having taken cash of rs. 530, and the ornaments exs. i to v tied up in a napkin and also the wooden.....
Judgment:

Guha Ray, J.

1. The two petitioners Srimanta Manna and Sashi Manna, Srimanta being Sashi's son, were convicted under Section 379 and under Section 411, I. P. C. respectively and were sentenced to R. I. for four months. The case for the prosecution briefly is that on 11-9-1950 in the evening Atul Manna and the other members of his household had gone out when a burglary was committed in his house and from a wall almirah in the southern varandah of Atul Manna's dwelling house a sum of Rs. 530, a number of documents and some gold and silver ornaments (Ex. I to V) which had been kept in a wooden box (Ex. VII) and a number of documents kept in a suit case (Ex. VIII) were taken away. The burglary was detected by P.W. 2 Satyabhama Manna when she found a bottle (Ex. XII) lying in the courtyard and a plate Ex. XI, lying on a bench. She and her Mashi Snehalata Manna, P.W. 4 who also happened to be at the house at the time raised a hue and cry which brought to Atul's house some of the villagers including P.W. 5 Sk. Nuruddin, P.W. 7 Jadunath Sanbighna, P.W. 8 Iswar Manna and P.W. 9 Iswar Bera. Atul's wife P.W. 4 told these people of the theft of cash and ornaments and documents from the almirah. On the east of the house of Atul there is a jute field which belonged to the accused and foot-prints were found leading to the house of Srimanta. P.Ws. 1, 5, 7, 8 and 9 together with others then went to the house of Srimanta when Srimanta was questioned about the theft and although he denied any knowledge of any such theft, after a few minutes confessed to having taken cash of Rs. 530, and the ornaments Exs. I to V tied up in a napkin and also the wooden box, Ex. VII, and the tin suit case, Ex. VIII, and stated that he had taken them and that he had made them over to his father Sashi. Sashi was then persuaded by the villagers to produce the articles if those had been stolen and Sashi ultimately produced those articles--the cash and ornaments which had been tied up in a napkin, and he is also alleged to have stated that the documents had been burnt. The villagers present including Atul then went to the kitchen in the house of the petitioners and found the ashes of burnt documents. Atul then called Chowkidar Gopal Maity to the house of the petitioners where they made over the articles Exs. I to VIII and the cash amounting to Rs. 530/- in currency notes to him. At 10 p.m. the very same day Atul went to Chandpur Beat-house and reported what had happened. This was entered in the General Diary, the relevant entry being Ex. 4. The A. S. I. in charge of the beat-house then proceeded to the house of the petitioners where he seized the money and the articles in question and the search-list is Ex 5. On the next day Atul went to the police station at 11-45 a.m. and lodged an information which was recorded as the first information report and this has been, treated as the first information report in the case.

2. The petitioners were sent up on investigation. Their defence at the trial was that they were not guilty and that the articles in question belonged to Sashi Manna himself and that he did not produce them as alleged by the prosecution witnesses but what was done was that they invaded his house and took out the articles themselves and it is further the defence that Sashi did not make any statement as alleged by some of the prosecution witnesses. The trial Court found on evidence that there was a burglary in the house of Atul as alleged by the prosecution, that the villagers following the footsteps leading towards the house of the petitioners, went to the house of the petitioners and asked them about the theft, that Srimanta denied having had anything to do with the theft but ultimately a few minutes later confessed having committed the burglary and stolen cash amounting to Rs. 530/- and ornaments and other things and having made them over to his father and that his father on being asked by the witnesses to produce the articles if those had been stolen, did produce them. On these findings the trial Court convicted Srimanta under Section 379, I.P.C. although he had been charged under Section 380 and Sashi under Section 411, I.P.C. although he too had been charged under Section 380.

3. The first point argued by Mr. Mukherjee on behalf of the petitioners is that the information given by Atul at the police station on the morning of 12-9-1956, could not be the first information report because there was the earlier information at the beat-house and Mr. Mukherjee refers us to rule No. 73 (b) of the Police Regulation, Vol. I, in which the term 'police post' includes police station, beat-house, road-post and out-post and argues that the beat-house at which Atul gave the information first must be treated as a police station. We must say that Mr. Mukherjee misreads this Rule completely. What the Rule says is that the expression 'police post' includes 'police station'. That does not amount to saying that a police station includes a police post. In other words, according to this definition, all police posts are at the same time police stations. That does not mean that all police stations and beat-houses are at the same time police stations. The term 'police station' has been defined in Section 4 (s), Cr. P. C. as any post or place declared generally or specially by the State Government to be a police station and includes any local area specified by the State Government in this behalf. There is nothing to indicate in this case that this particular beat-house was declared as a police station by the State Government. On the other hand, Rule 73 (a) clearly defines that a police station as defined in Section 4 (s) is the unit of investigation and that for the purpose of police administration all investigation centres will be known as police stations but the term 'police post' as provided in Rule 73 (b) includes police station, beat-house out post and road post. Clearly then a beat-house unless it is declared generally or specially by the State Government to be a police station cannot be held to be a police station. The information therefore that was given at the beat-house could not amount to a first information report within the meaning of Section 154, Cr. P. C. Even so, if it could be proved that the investigating officer who took up the investigation, took it up on the basis of the information recorded at the beat-house, then this information which was earlier in point of time than the one at the P. S. would have undoubtedly amounted to afirst information report although, strictly speaking not within the meaning of the expression in Section 154, Cr. P. C. But then there is nothing in the evidence to suggest that the investigating officer took up investigation of the case on the basis of this information. On the other hand, his evidence does indicate that he took up investigation on the basis of the information Atul gave at the police station itself. That being so, there was nothing legally wrong in the use which was made in the Court below of Atul's information at the police station although it was subsequent in point of time of the information given by him at the beat-house. But, whether the earlier information or the later information is treated as the first information report really makes little difference 311 the case because both the informations substantially state the same thing except that the details of the property stolen are not given in the earlier information at the beat-house. The explanation of this might be two-fold. The first is that all that was stated by Atul in the beat-house was not recorded in the General Diary which merely reproduces the substance of the statement or it might be that Atul knowing fully well that that was not to be treated as the first information report, did not make a full statement giving the particulars of the articles stolen.

4. The next point urged by Mr. Mukherjee is that the alleged extra judicial confession of Srimanta was the result of persuasion by the witnesses and he refers us to the evidence of P.Ws. 1, 5, 7, 8 and 9 who seek to prove the facts of the extra judicial statement made by Srimanta and the production of the article by his father Sashi. Atul, P.W. 1, says in his examination-in-chief :

'We asked Srimanta (identified) who at first denied to have committed theft and then confessed his guilt and said that he had stolen the ornaments cash etc. and had kept these with his father Sashi Bhusan Manna. Sashi Manna (identified) who was there admitted it saving that his son had kept the said articles with him. Sashi then produced cash of Rs. 530/- this silver hipchain (Ex. I), these two pair of gold earrings (Ex. II), this gold ring (Ex. III), this gold nak ful (Ex. IV) and this gold nak Kari (Ex. V) tied in this napkin (Ex. VI).'

5. In cross-examination he says that after being asked twice or thrice, Srimanta confessed his guilt. There is thus nothing in the evidence of P.W. 1 that there was any persuasion used by any of the witnesses. What they appear to have done according to P.W. 1, is that he was questioned twice or thrice before coming out with the alleged confession.

6. P.W. 5 also says the same thing in his examination-in-chief. In his cross-examination he says that Iswar Manna, Iswar Bera, Jadu Barman and he persuaded the accused persons to produce the articles. Even according to this witness then, what they persuaded the accused persons to do was not to make a statement but to produce the articles. The making of this statement, therefore, by Srimanta was not even according to this witness the result of any persuasion on the part of any of the witnesses.

7. According to P.W. 7 Jadu Nath Sanbighna, Srimanta was asked by Atul and others whether he had committed the theft, but he denied at first and then admitted having committed the theft and said that he would return the articles and then Sashi produced the articles and the cash tied in a napkin from the cowshed and then in his cross-examination he says that it was only Atul, as far as he could remember, who asked the accused Srimanta about the theft.

8. P.W. 8 says that Atul asked Srimanta and his father whether they had committed the theft and Srimanta admitted that he had committed the theft and Sashi produced the articles. In his cross-examination he says that he could not say which of the crowd of 50 or 60 enquired of the accused persons about the theft. Then the only other witness who seeks to prove this part of the case, P.W. 9 Iswar Chandra Bera, in his examination-in-chief corroborates what the other witnesses state. In his cross-examination he says that Atul, Rajani, Paresh, and he himself and others asked Srimanta to produce the articles if he had stolen them and about 15 minutes after they had gone there, the bundle was produced. This is all the evidence on the point. From this it cannot certainly be held that the statement made by Srimanta was the result of any persuasion on the part of any of the witness. The confession therefore alleged to have been made by Srimanta must be held to have been voluntary.

9. Mr. Mukherjee then argued that the witnesses who seek to prove this so-called extra judicial confession were all interested. The question whether the witnesses are interested and on that ground unreliable is a pure question of fact and when both the Courts below have accepted this testimony, it is not for the revisional Court to go into that question and to disagree with the findings of the Courts below.

10. Mr. Mukherjee then argued that the father could not be convicted under Section 411, I. P. C. On the evidence because there is nothing to indicate that he must have known that the things were stolen properties. Sashi as admittedly the father of Srimanta. It is in evidence that those persons are in receipt of doles from the Government. It is also in evidence that the things tied up in a napkin were produced from a cowshed. A cow-shed is not normally the place for such a large amount of cash and gold and silver ornaments. Apart from the relationship between Srimanta and Sashi, the fact that they were living together in the same place and the further fact that the articles were produced from a cow-shed would at once go to show that Sashi must have known that these were not properties which Srimanta had acquired honestly. Then there is the further fact that some documents were burnt and that also would go to confirm the view that Sashi must have known that all these items of properties including the cash were stolen. That being so, the conviction of Sashi under Section 411, I. P. C. cannot be said to be wrong.

11. Mr. Mukherjee finally argues on the question of sentence, particularly the sentence passed on the father who is an old man of 65. If an old man of 65 could be a party to a crime of this nature, there is no reason why We should take a lenient view of the offence committed by him.

12. In the circumstances there is no reason for interference in revision either with the convictions or with the sentences.

13. The petition is accordingly dismissed and the Rule is discharged. The petitioners must forthwith surrender to their bail.

N.K. Sen, J.

14. I agree.


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