1. The appellant A.M.A. Zaman has been convicted under Section 124-A, I.P. C, and under that section sentenced to one year's rigorous imprisonment. Zaman was the Editor, Printer and Publisher of a Weekly Bengalee paper 'Sarbahara.' The charge against him was in respect of an article which appeared in that paper in its issue on 26th September 1931, under the heading 'Massacre at Hijli and Responsibility of the Nation.' In this article the writer after condemning the incidents at Hijli proceeded to analyse the reasons why the incidents had happened, whether the Nationalists (the Congress leaders) would be able to remove the causes and the writer concluded by saying that the Congress leaders were impotent in the matter and it would lie with the revolutionary proletariat to come forward to make the creation of a wider and finer society possible through the destruction of the existing impossible, social and administrative regime and the article ended with the slogan:
Down with Imperalism: Victory to revolution: May the Proletariat be victorious in all ways. What explanation can the nation offer for the death of the prisoners ?
2. The passages in the article to which objection was taken were (1):
The Imperialism which is based on reckless, oppression and free exploitation has forgotten its responsibility. Hence such impossible oppression on these men has been possible,
It is not the impotent Congress leaders but the revolutionary proletariat who will have to come forward to make the creation of a wider and finer society possible through the destruction of the existing impossible, social and administrative regime in order that this fighting propensity of Imperialism may be stopped.
3. According to the prosecution these passages were seditious as they could not but have excited disaffection and hatred towards Government. Mr. Chakravarty who appeared for the appellant conceded that if the term Imperialism' in these passages could be taken to mean Government' then that would be seditious. But his contention was that the term Imperialism' in the article was not to be taken as meaning 'Government.' This contention, in my opinion, cannot for a moment bear scrutiny. According to the writer 'imperialism' had: 'Waded through the sea of blood of Santosh Kumar and Tarakeswar' who had been killed at Hijli, Imperialism had forgotten its responsibility and it was futile to cherish the hope of being partners of that Imperialism. Imperialism could not wade through the sea of blood. It cannot forget its responsibility nor can it have anybody as its partners unless it is taken to mean the followers of the doctrine of Imperialism which according to the writer the present Government was. I am therefore clearly of opinion that the terms 'imperialism' and 'imperialistic Government' and Government as used in the article were interchangeable and it was in that interchangeable character that the writer used them when writing the article. There can be no manner of doubt that the passages in which 'reckless oppression, free exploitation' and other acts were attributed to 'imperialism' were well calculated to excite disaffection and hatred towards the author thereof and if Government was meant to be the author thereof as it must have been meant as shown above, the articles were clearly seditious. I am therefore of opinion that the appellant was rightly convicted under Section 124-A, I.P.C.
4. Then as regards the sentence. It appears that the paper Sarbahara' was not a paper with any wide circulation and there were only 750 copies printed of the issue in which the seditious article was published. It appears moreover that he appellant is a young man of about 22 only with not very great education. It appears further that the paper 'Sarbahara' is no longer in existence. Regard being had to all these circumstances I am of opinion that the ends of justice would be satisfied if we reduce the sentence of one year's rigorous imprisonment to the term already undergone.
5. I agree.