Ratemahatmaya of Walapane v. Jeganathan.
1935Present: Maartensz J.
RATEMAHATMAYA OF WALAPANE v. JEGANATHAN.
77—P. C. Nuwara Eliya, 8,824.
Rubber control—False statement in return—Return made to the RubberInvestigating Officer prior to Ordinance—Ordinance No. 6 of 1934,ss. 13 and 51 (1) (d).
A false statement made in a return furnished to a rubber investigatingofficer prior to the commencement of Ordinance No. 6 of 1934 cannotbe made the subject of a charge under section 51 (1) (d) of the Ordinance.
^ PPEAL from a conviction by the Police Magistrate of Nuwara Eliya.
S. P. Wijeywickreme, for appellant.
E. B. Wickremanayeke, C.C., for respondent.
1 35 N. L. R. 91.
2 25 J. L. R. Calcutta 179.
MAARTENSZ J.—-Ratemahatmaya of Walapane v. Jeganaihan.
April 8, 1935. Maartensz J.—
This is an appeal by the accused who was charged with and convictedof having made a false return to the Rubber Controller, an offence punish-able under section 51 (1) (d) of the Rubber Control Ordinance, No. 6 of1934.
The return which the accused made is dated May 15, 1934. On thisreturn there is one endorsement that it was received on June 20, 1934.and the stamp of the Rubber Controller to the effect that it was receivedon May 21, 1934.
The evidence of Mr. Aluwihare, the Ratemahatmaya, is that it wasreceived on May 21, 1934. According to this return the accused had319 rubber plants planted in 1934 on a land called Cottantenne of 3£ acresin Ambaliyada village. The plants were therefore very young plants.The land was inspected on July 26 by the Korala and the Arachchi ofthe village and their evidence is that there was no rubber in thisland and that there is no rubber in this village. The accused’s defence isthat the plants had been killed off by a severe drought from Mayonwards. That there was a drought is admitted and there can be nodoubt that it was possible for these plants to be killed off. In supportof his defence he produced a receipt for rubber seeds purchased by himfrom one Vythialingam. After the case for the defence was closed itwas pointed out that this witness was not called and the accused’s proctormoved to be allowed to call him. This motion was disallowed as thecase for the defence had been closed.
I think in the circumstances the accused should have been given theopportunity of calling this witness. The evidence at its highest howeveronly proves that there were no rubber plants cn July 26. It is impossibleto presume from this evidence that there were no plants in the land onMay 15 when the accused made his return as the plants were youngplants. The prosecution had therefore failed to establish that theaccused’s statement that he had rubber plants in May, 1934, was false.
The legal objection to the conviction is that this return is not a returnmade under the Ordinance. It appears that on April 12, 1934, theGovernor appointed an officer called the Rubber Investigating Officer.This officer, by a notice dated April 12, requested all producers of rubberto oblige him by furnishing on or before May 15. 1934, the informationrequired by the printed forms which could be obtained from aboutApril 30, free of charge from all Post Offices, Kachcheries, and minorheadmen in rubber growing areas, and at the Office of the Rubber Investi-gating Officer. The notice also intimated that white forms should beused for small holdings under 10 acres in extent and that these returnsshould be forwarded direct to the Rubber Investigation Officer. It istrue that this return was received by the Ruhber Controller, if the rubberstamp on it bears the correct date, after the Ordinance came into operationon May 17, 1934 ; but it certainly was not a return made under theprovisions of the Ordinance unless the provisions of section 13 couldbe made applicable to it, that is to say, whether in view of the provisionsof this section the return was in fact a return under the Ordinance.
DRIEBERG J.—Shand v. Athukorale.
Section 13 enacts as follows:-—(1) On or before the prescribed date theproprietor of every estate or small holding and every dealer shall furnishto the Controller a return in the prescribed form containing the pre-scribed particulars, (2) any return furnished by the proprietor of “ anestate or a small holding or by a dealer to the Rubber InvestigatingOfficer in response to any notification published by him prior to thecommencement of this Ordinance may be accepted by the Controlleras a return furnished under sub-section (1) : provided that if the Con-troller rejects any return as furnished to the Rubber InvestigatingOfficer, he shall call on every proprietor or dealer whose return he rejectsto furnish a return in accordance with sub-section (1) or within suchextended time as he may specify ”, It would seem that sub-section (2)enables the Controller to accept as a return furnished under sub-section (1)any return furnished by the proprietor of an estate or small holding to theRubber Investigating Officer. I am of opinion that this section does nomore than authorize the Rubber Controller to treat a return to the RubberInvestigating Officer as a return under the Ordinance for the purposesof section 13 (1). That sub-section certainly does not make the returnso far as the accused is concerned a return made by him under the pro-visions of the Ordinance. He was therefore not liable to convictionunder the provisions of section 51 (1) (d) even if the statement containedin it with regard to the rubber plants is false.
The appeal is allowed and the accused acquitted.
RATEMAHATMAYA OF WALAPANE v. JEGANATHAN