Queen-Empress vs Muhammad Ismail Khan on 25 November, 1897

Allahabad High Court
Queen-Empress vs Muhammad Ismail Khan on 25 November, 1897
Equivalent citations: (1898) ILR 20 All 151
Bench: J Edge, Burkitt


John Edge, C.J. and Burkit, J.

1. This is an appeal brought by the Local Government against an order of the Sessions Judge of Farrukhabad acquitting Muhammad Ismail Khan of offences punishable under Sections 177 and 218 of the Indian Penal Code.

2. On the 23rd of January last Muhammad Ismail Khan was a head constable stationed at Kaimganj police station. It was his duty to enter all reports made at the station as to cognizable or non-cognizable offences and to enter them in the station diary. On the evening of that day, whilst Muhammad Ismail Khan was on duty, Banwari Lal and Bansidhar with two-other men, Balla and Udho, came to the thana to make a report that Banwari Lal had been robbed on that evening of Rs. 454, which his servant Udho was carrying, and that the robbers who had made the attack had succeeded in carrying away the bag in which the money was and had escaped.

3. Banwari Lal and his companions made their statement to Muhammad Ismail Khan and asked him to enter the report. Muhammad Ismail Khan said that they wanted to get up a case and told them to wait. They waited until 1 o’clock in the morning, and then left. Muhammad Ismail Khan did enter a report in the general diary that night as made by Balla accompanied by Bansidhar. It was not a report of a robbery; it was a report that a milkman had beaten Balla. No such report had been made. It so happened that, at the time Banwari Lal and his companions were at the station, the police were busy with a murder case just reported. Now the Sessions Judge has found that no such report as that alleged by the witnesses for the prosecution was made at all. The assessors suggested that Banwari Lal and his companions wished to hush up the case of the robbery and consequently made a false report which was then entered in the general diary. The Sessions Judge observes that that was a simple explanation, and he accepted it. In one sense of the word “simple” it was simple enough: so foolish that we should have expected the Sessions Judge to have rejected it. It might have struck him that these banias who had taken the trouble to go at that hour of the night more than a mile to the thana to report a robbery, which the Sessions Judge believed to have been committed (and which we have no doubt was. committed), and remained there from 8 o’clock in the night until 1 o’clock next morning in order to have the matter reported, had not gone to the thana to make a false report of an assault that had not been committed, and which, if it had been committed, did not concern either Bansidhar or Banwari Lal, the two chief men–a false report which might make them liable to punishment under Section 211 of the Indian Penal Code. We are satisfied that the banias did report that a robbery had been committed that night, and that they did not report any assault by a milkman on their porter.

4. It is easy to understand what happened. The Sub-Inspector at the time was absent investigating another case; there comes in a report of a murder that had taken place; then comes this report of a robbery. We have no doubt that at the police station they did not want to trouble about this case of robbery, in which none of the robbers had been identified, and in which what was carried away was rupees, which could not be traced, and in which there was little chance that an arrest would have been made or a conviction obtained. They thought they would keep the charge out of the books and not spoil their naqshas by showing an undetected offence of robbery committed in the street under their noses.

5. We are of opinion that Section 218 of the Indian Penal Code does not apply to this case. No doubt it is injurious to the public that such serious offences as robbery should be hushed up, but unfortunately the definition of “injury” contained in the Penal Code does not cover anything that took place that night at the thana. We can well understand that oases of falsification of reports may occur which come within the purview of Section 218. All we decide is that this case does not. There is nothing in this case to show that Muhammad Ismail Khan intended to cause loss or injury to the public or to any person, or that he intended to save, or knew he was likely to save, anyone from punishment or had any of the other intents mentioned in Section 218,. when he suppressed the real report and entered the false one,

6. We are of opinion, and we find, that Muhammad Ismail Khan did commit an offence punishable under Section 177 of the Indian Penal Code. He was bound by law to enter in the general diary all reports of cognizable and non-cognizable cases made to him at the than a. It is needless to say that this duty involved that he should truthfully enter those reports. One object of that diary is to inform the Magistrate of the District and District Superintendent of Police of the offences which have been reported at the thana. In that sense the diary furnishes them with “information,” and at this particular thana it was the duty of Muhammad Ismail Khan to furnish such information to the Magistrate of the District and the District Superintendent of Police by means of the truthful entry of reports made to him. What he did was–he furnished by means of a false entry information which he knew to be false. He suppressed the real report, and entered a report which had not been made. Indeed we would be prepared to hold that Muhammad Ismail Khan in not entering the report which was made to him, even if he had made no entry at all, would have brought himself under Section 177, as the result would have been that he would have thereby informed the Magistrate of the District and the District Superintendent of Police that no report of a cognizable offence had been made, which would have been false information. It is absolutely necessary in the interests of the public that Police officers charged with the duty of entering these reports should enter them truthfully. We regard this as a serious case. A grave offence had been committed, and the action of Muhammad Ismail Khan, possibly countenanced by some other Police officer, that night has resulted in no inquiry so far as we are aware, having been instituted in respect of this highway robbery. We are aware that this class of offence is committed in certain districts; that reports made have been minimised and minor offences entered when a graver offence was in fact reported. We cannot pass over this offence lightly. We set aside the order of acquittal, and we convict Muhammad Ismail Khan of the offence punishable under Section 177, and sentence him to be rigorously imprisoned for eighteen calendar months; the imprisonment will begin from the time when he is taken into custody to undergo this sentence.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

You may use these HTML tags and attributes:

<a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <s> <strike> <strong>

* Copy This Password *

* Type Or Paste Password Here *