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MUD1ANSE KORALA v. APPUHAMY et al.
P. G., KSgalla, 12,519.
Civil Procedure Code, et. 542 and 543—Proseculionfor not reporting death—Duty
of “ next of kin "—Ordinance No. 18 of 1867, s. 18—Absence of fraud.
Where a deceased left property exceeding Rs. 1,000 and minorchildren, a prosecution for not reporting his death under section 543 ofthe Civil Procedure Code does noc lie against the adult brothers of thedeceased.
It is only when some fraud has been perpetrated that the provisionsof sections 542 and 543 of the Civil Procedure Code Bhould beenforced.
The best working provision regarding the reporting of deaths is tobe found, not in section 542 of the Code, but in Ordinance No. 18 of1867, section 18.
HIS purported to be a prosecution under section 543 of theCivil Procedure Code, it being alleged that one Punchirala
died intestate on the 28th April, 1894, and that “ he left no widow,“ and left property exceeding Rs. 1,000 in value; and the above-“ named accused being the brothers and next of kin of the“deceased, and bound as such under section 542 of the Civil“Procedure Code, within one month from the date of the death“of the said Punchirala, to report the cause to the District“ Courtdid wilfully omit to report the said death,” Ac.
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On being asked to show cause why they should not be convicted,it was contended on behalf of the accused that, as the deceased hadleft him surviving minor children, they were his “ next of kin,”and not the accused, and that it was not the duty of the latter toreport the death.
The Police Magistrate convicted the accused, and sentencedthem to pay each a fine of Rs. 2*50.
On appeal, Bawa appeared for them.
4th September, 1894. Lawrie, A.O.J., set aside the conviction
and acquitted the accused, in the following judgment:—
When the accused were asked if they had any cause to showwhy they should not be convicted, their Proctor made a statement,which the Police Magistrate seems to have treated as a plea ofguilty, because he then and there convicted. It is clear to methat the accused did not intend to plead guilty, and did not in factplead guilty.
I would have sent the case back for trial, but that seems un-necessary, because I think I may take it to be admitted by theprosecution that the deceased left minor children, who are hisnext of kin. If that be so, then the brothers of the deceased arenot his next of kin, and no duty is laid on them by section 542of the Civil Procedure Cod6 to report the death.
The best working provision regarding the reporting of deathsis to be found, not in section 542 of the Code, but in OrdinanceNo. 18 of 1867, section 18. By this Ordinance the duty ofreporting a death is laid on the nearest male relation present at thedeath or attending the last illness, and in case none such be present,then the occupier of the house or some inmate of the house, &c.The person failing to report shall, by section 20, be liable to a finenot exceeding £5.
It is, I think, only when some fraud has been perpetrated withregard to an estate worth more than Rs. 1,000 that the provisionsof sections 542 and 543 of the Code should be put in force.
MUDIANSE KORALA v. APPUHAMY et al