1. The petitioners have been convicted under Section 215, I.P.C., on the allegation that they together with two other persons, (one of whom was convicted along with them but has not joined in this application), realised a sum of Rs. 31 in three instalments from the complaint for helping him to recover a boat which had been stolen from his ghat. Both the Courts below found that the complainant's boat had in fact been stolen and the circumstances under which the boat disappeared from the ghat clearly point to this conclusion. As regards the taking of the money, it appears that one Mosrabulla, who was convicted along with the petitioners and whose appeal was also dismissed, was the prime mover in the affair, or at any rate the spokesman of the other persons concerned in the affair. Both the Courts below found that the complainant had in fact paid the money to Mosrab as alleged by him, the former. They have found that the first and last instalments of the money were paid in the presence of the petitioners and that the petitioners were well aware of the purpose for which the money was paid and were in fact in conspiracy with one another and the other accused Mosrabulla. It is clear that the money was demanded and paid on account of helping of the complainant to recover his stolen boat, and both the Courts below have arrived at a finding to this effect.
2. The findings referred to above clearly bring the case within the purview of Section 215, and are based on evidence which although mainly circumstantial in character is sufficient to justify those findings. It has been suggested on behalf of the petitioners that the prosecution should have been further called upon to prove that the petitioners had screened or attempted to screen the persons concerned in the theft of the boat from legal punishment. But these considerations are only applicable in a case under Section 213, I.P.C., and have no bearing on a case under Section 215 of that Code. Section 215, does indeed contain a saving clause to the effect that a person taking a gratification of the nature mentioned in that section shall not be punished if he uses all means in his power to cause the offender to be apprehended and convicted of the offence; but this is clearly an exception to the generality. Once the elements of an offence under Section 215 have been established by evidence the onus of proving that the person charged is entitled to the benefit of the exception referred to above is on the defence, and in the present case no such defence was sought to be raised or established. In our opinion, the matter is concluded by the concurrent findings of fact arrived at by the Courts below and the Rule must therefore be discharged. The petitioners who are on bail must surrender to their bail and serve out the remainder of their sentences.
3. I agree.