S.K. Ghose, J.
1. The petitioner has been convicted under Section 436, I.P.C., and sentenced to undergo rigorous imprisonment for three years and to pay a fine of Rs. 75; in default to undergo rigorous imprisonment for a further period of six months and it has been directed that the fine, if realized, will go to the complainant as compensation. Shortly stated, the case for the prosecution is that the petitioner and others set fire to the house of one Seraj Khan who started proceedings by sending a telegram to the Sub-Inspector of Police, Bagnan, Police Station in the following terms:
Kochi Hajam with party set fire my house burnt come. Sd. Sheraj Khan Pipulnam.
2. This telegram was treated at the trial as the first information report under Section 154, Criminal P.C. The investigating police officer on going to the spot recorded the statement of Seraj Khan. But this statement was treated as one recorded under Section 161, Criminal P.C. The ground on which the Rule was issued is that the telegram is not legally admissible as the first information report within the meaning of Section 154, Criminal P.C. and the trial has been vitiated by the reception and use of the same as the first information report and the petitioner has been seriously prejudiced by this procedure. It is contended on behalf of the petitioner, that, if the provisions of Section 154 of the Code were strictly followed, where the information is given in writing it shall be signed by the person giving it and, since it cannot be said that the telegram was sent to the thana with the signature of the informant Seraj Khan, the document was not in accordance with the provisions of Section 154 of the Code and therefore was not admissible as a first information report. In support of this reliance is placed on the case of Public Prosecutor v. Chidambaram 1928 Mad 791 and in In re N. Anandayya 1915 Mad 312. It was pointed out in the first mentioned case that a telegram is not a writing given to the police signed by the person making the statement and further that so far as authenticity goes a telegram stands in no better position than village gossip.
3. This criticism may be accepted as correct and it may be said that, as a matter of procedure, the telegram in question does not comply with Section 154 of the Code inasmuch as it was not signed by the informant, although so far as authenticity goes it is deposed to by the informant. Mr. Ganguli for the petitioner however concedes that the telegram cannot be excluded from the evidence. All that he contends is that it is not a first information report within the meaning of Section 154 of the Code. His contention is that the statement which was recorded by the Sub-Inspector should have been put in as the first information report in the case. This argument however has no practical value in this rule. The telegram was put in without objection. In so far as the statement of Seraj Khan was concerned it was always available to the accused under Section 162 of the Code and Mr. Ganguli also concedes that, as a matter of fact, this statement was available to the defence for the valuable purpose of contradicting the witness. The grievance might have been with the prosecution in that it was not able to put it in examination-in-chief. But in so far as the accused is concerned there is no prejudice. The ground therefore on which the Rule is based cannot be sustained. The Rule is discharged. The petitioner, if on bail, must surrender to his bail bond and serve out the remainder of the sentence imposed upon him.
4. I agree.