BASNAYAKE J.—Athamlebbe v. Inspector of Police, Batticaloa.
1948Present: Basnayake J.
ATHAMLEBBE, Appellant and INSPECTOR OF POLICE,BATTICALOA, Respondent.
S. C. 9—M. C. Batticaloa, 4,097.
Criminal Procedure Code—Foreign language—Translation—Tamil—Section 301 (2).
Tamil is not a foreign language within the meaning of section 301 (2) of theCriminal Procedure Code.
-ApPEAL from a judgment of the Magistrate, Batticaloa.
H. V. Perera, K.C., with B. G. S. David, for aocused, appellant.
V. T. Thamotheram, Grotmt Counsel, for tbe Attorney-General.
Cur. adv. vult.
Maroh 10, 1948. Basnayake J.—
The accused-appellant has been convicted of the offenoes of—
(а)fraudulently or dishonestly using as genuine a forged dooument, and
(б)attempting to cheat the Government Agent of the Eastern Provinceby dishonestly representing to him that he had passed the 8th standard inTamil, and sentenced to a term of three months’ rigorous imprisonmentfor each offence, the sentences to run concurrently.
1 (1918) 118 Law Times 177.
BASXAYAKE J.—Athamlebbe v. Inspector of Police, BaUicaloa.
Briefly the material facts are as follows :—The Government Agent ofthe Eastern Province called for applications for the post of Headman ofKattankudy Division No. 5. The accused, who was Headman of Kattan-kudy Division No. 4, was one of those who applied for the post. Alongwith his application he sent a school certificate which showed that he hadpassed the 8th standard in Tamil.
The accused was selected along with some others for an interview.At the interview too he represented to the Government Agent that hehad passed the 8th standard in Tamil. Finally the Government Agentprovisionally selected the accused for the post. He says he would nothave done it if the accused did not in fact possess the educational quali-fications claimed. As a matter of caution the Government Agentthereafter sent the accused’s school certificate to the Education Officerfor verification and report. It then turned out that the accused had notpassed the 8th standard in Tamil, but luid only passed the 6th standard.These proceedings are the sequel to that discovery.
Counsel for the accused has taken the following objections to hisconviction—
(а)that there is no proof that the document P 3 which is pronounced
to be a forgery is the very document which the accused sentto the Government Agent;
(б)that a document in the Tamil language was irregularly admitted
in evidence in the course of the proceedings without a dulyauthenticated translation thereof being filed ;
that the accused has in fact passed the 8th standard in Tamil. I
I have examined the evidence as to the identity of the document P 3and am satisfied that the evidence establishes that the document P 3is the very school certificate which the accused sent to the GovernmentAgent.
The document to which objection is taken on the ground of its improperadmission in evidence is P 6, the log book of the school which the accusedattended. Some of the entries in it are in Tamil, others in English.Pages 62. 67 and 75 which contained entries in Tamil were referred to inhis evidence in chief by one Thuraiappah who was the headmaster of theschool from its inception till-he left it in 1919. Counsel for the accusedtook no objection and was in fact, at his request, given time to examinethe log book before cross-examining that witness. His cross-examinationshows that the witness has been questioned about not only the entries hereferred to in his evidence in chief but also others. The accused hastherefore not been prejudiced and the interests of justice have notsuffered.
But quite apart from that I am unable to read section 301 (2) of theCriminial Procedure Code as applying to a document in the language of thenative inhabitants of this country. Tamil is the language of a largesection of the people and cannot, in my opinion, be regarded as a foreignlanguage within the ordinary meaning of that expression in an enactmentof our legislature. According to the Standard Dictionary the word
JPablis Appuhamy V. Dias.
“ foreign ” means belonging to, situated in, or derived from anothercountry, not native, alien, exotic. In this context, where there is noindication that tbe word is used in a special sense, 'it should bo given itsordinary meaning. I hold therefore that by the admission in evidenceof the Tamil entries in P 6 no provision of law has been disregarded. Itshould however be borne in mind that English is still the language ofour Courts and that great inconvenience to counsel and judges, hardshipand even injustice to accused persons can result from the absence ofduly authenticated English translations of documentary evidence in alanguage other than English even though that language be not a “ foreignlanguage ” for the purposes of section 301 (2).
I wish to make it clear to all judges of first instance that my decisionas to the true meaning of section 301 (2) of the Criminal Procedure Codeshould not be regarded as an indication that the strict observance ofparagraph 102 (i) of the Manual for Judicial Officers is no longer required.The requirements of that paragraph should be scrupulously observedin all criminal proceedings.
In regard to the third and last point urged by counsel for the appellantthe learned trial judge has accepted the prosecution evidence and dis-believed the accused on whose unsupported testimony rests the claimthat he has passed the 8th standard in Tamil. I have perused theevidence of the accused along with the other evidence in the case and Iam not prepared to say that the learned Magistrate was wrong in holdingthat the accused has not passed the 8th standard in Tamil.
I have considered the question of sentence and can find no sufficientground on which I can interfere. The appeal is dismissed.