1. In this case the petitioner was put on his trial before the Sub-Divisional officer of Kalimpong under Section 477-A, I.P.C. on the charge of making false entries with a view to defraud in the Range establishment accounts. These entries are set out in the appendix to the charge; that is the pay bill and monthly cash accounts in respect of Sanman Forest Guard for the months of May 1924, June 1924 and March 1925. The case apparently was that this guard who was no longer in service was entered at a rate of pay in the pay bill and in the monthly cash accounts of those months but as a matter of fact another man was employed at a lower rate of pay for those months as a Forest Guard. The Sub-Divisional officer found the accused guilty and sentenced him to six months rigorous imprisonment and a fine of Rs. 100 on each of the three charges relating to the pay bill. This Rule has been obtained on the ground, that the trial has been vitiated by misjoinder of charges, that there is no evidence that he falsified the accounts, that upon the charges as drawn up three separate sentences were not legal, that the sentence was too severe and further that the learned Sessions Judge was wrong in confirming the conviction.
2. Now before us the point first taken is that as a matter of fact the charge is defective and illegal in view of the provisions of Section 234, Criminal P.C. in that as a matter of fact in the charge as framed by the Magistrate there were six distinct and separate charges of falsification of six separate and distinct documents-that is to say three pay bills and three monthly cash accounts and that, therefore, the whole trial is illegal, as not more than three of such offences committed within the space of 12 months can be tried at one time. Though no doubt, when convicting, the Magistrate has not recorded any finding in respect of the falsification of the monthly cash accounts, it appears] to us that this non-fulfilment of the law; in trying together more than three separate falsification of different papers makes the whole trial illegal. In our opinion, therefore the conviction and sentence must be set aside and the case sent back to the Sub-Divisional officer for re-trial according to law.
3. The petitioner will remain on the same bail pending the orders of the Sub-Divisional officer.