DE KRETSER j!—Ma.rik.aT and Mirihana Police.
1942Present: de Kretser J.
MARIKAR, Appellant, and MIRIHANA POLICE, Respondent.
401—M. C. Colombo, 37,685.
Defence (Coin and Currency) Regulations—Refusal to accept damaged notes—Regulation 3 (c) —Penal Code, s. 72.
Where a trader is charged under regulation 3 (c) of the Defence (Coin,and Currency) Regulations with ‘‘refusing to accept in payment of adebt or otherwise any coin or note” and where it is established that herefused to accept notes on the ground that they were damaged and notgood money,—-
Held, that the accused had not offended against the provisions ofthe Regulation.
^^PPEAL from a conviction by the Magistrate of Colombo.
R. G. C. Pereira for appellant.
H. W. R. Weerasooriya, C.C., for respondent.
June 23, 1942. de Kbetser J.
The Magistrate accepted the case for the prosecution and, despite somedifficulty in following his reasons for rejecting the defence,' I think he wasright in accepting the facts given by the prosecution. These facts arethat the accused is a very small trader ; that he was quite willing to selltwo tins of cigarettes for Re. 1.87; that he always accepts currencynotes and displays no tendency to hoard silver coins; that he might haverefused to sell at all since cigarettes are not “ controlled ” ; that he wasgiven as part of the payment three notes of 25 cents each and refused1 to N.L. R. 481.* 13 N. L. R. 97.
Gnanaprakasam v. Sabaratnam.
to accept two of them as they were damaged ; that no immediate protestwas made nor was he requested to sell only one tin; that the sale was onefor cash add so was not complete.
He was fined Rs. 100, the Magistrate indulging in some general remarks,quite proper and creditable in themselves but having no applicationto the facts of the present case.
It is common knowledge that not only traders but ordinary folk fightshy of damaged notes; there is an idea that they are no longer legaltender. The Magistrate refers to some clerk in the Kachcheri whorefused to accept such notes when remitted by the Court.
The regulation penalises a person who refuses to accept a note inpayment of a debt or otherwise. The first question is whether there wasa debt. There was none as the sale was not on credit. What would bethe case if the customer tendered counterfeit coins or notes ? Clearlythe seller could refuse to sell. What if he refused to accept any notesand insisted on being paid in coin ? That would be the kind of thing theregulation was aimed at. Here he would not be refusing to sell butrefusing to sell except for coin. “ Otherwise ” would cover such a case.If then damaged notes were in fact legal tender, it would cover the presentcase. But if the trader acted honestly in refusing to accept the notesbecause he considered them not good money, as this trader clearly did,then section 72 of the Penal Code applies and he has committed nooffence.
In my opinion the accused is entitled to be acquitted on this groundalone.
I quite realize how dishonest traders might exploit this finding buf eachcase must depend on its own facts and the Legislature is always available.