Moulvi Ahmed Kabir Chowdhury vs Emperor on 20 December, 1937

Calcutta High Court
Moulvi Ahmed Kabir Chowdhury vs Emperor on 20 December, 1937
Equivalent citations: AIR 1938 Cal 274
Author: Henderson


Henderson, J.

1. The petitioner has been convicted of bribery under the provisions of Section 171.E, I.P.C. He was a candidate for the Chittagong South Mahomedan Rural constituency at the last election. Another gentleman named Khan Bahadur Bad Ahmed Chowdhury, the sitting member, was also a candidate. One Samadul Hug was an agent of the petitioner. The petitioner was very anxious to induce the Khan Bahadur to withdraw from the con. test. He accordingly wrote a letter, Ex. 6, to Samadul Huq and Samadul Huq then wrote Ex. 7 to the Khan Bahadur and forwarded with it the letter Ex. 6. The Khan Bahadur then made over both these letters to the District Magistrate. As a result, the prosecution of the petitioner and Samadul Huq was sanctioned and eventually they were both convicted. They appealed with-out success to the learned Sessions Judge and the petitioner then obtained this rule. The conviction of the petitioner depends upon the meaning which is to be attributed to this letter, Ex. 6. Mr. Basu has contended that it is capable of an innocent interpretation and that the petitioner was really particularly careful to tell his agent that he was not to do anything in support of his candidature which would come with-in the mischief of this section. All I can say is that the letter itself contains no suggestion of such a caution. The most important words are these:

Please try to dissuade Haji Badi Ahmed Chowdhury: And you will kindly make offer of what in your consideration you think proper for dissuading him. We do not differ cm this because I have already instructed you.

2. The learned Judge reached the conclusion that the only reasonable interpretation of this was that the recipient was authorized to take any steps to dissuade the Khan Bahadur and that the writer was prepared to endorse such steps as might be taken. I entirely agree with that interpretation. It is interesting to note that this identical interpretation was given by Samadul Haq who actually offered a large sum of money to the Khan Bahadur to induce him to withdraw. Now Samadul Huq was not in the position of the learned Judge who was forced to interpret the letter without reference to anything else. It appears from the very terms of the letter Ex. 6 itself that this was merely an answer to one which had been written by Samadul Huq and there is a reference to verbal instructions which had already been given. In my opinion, there can be no question that the intention of the petitioner was to offer the Khan Bahadur a large sum of money, provided that he would withdraw his candidature. Such being the case, it is clear that the conduct of the petitioner comes within the definition of bribery’ contained in Section 171.B. I.P.C. By Sub-section (2) a person who agrees to offer a gratification shall be deemed to give a gratification. Under Section 171-A, an “electoral right” includes the right of a person to withdraw from being a candidate at an election. This rule accordingly fails and is discharged.

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