Leonard Stone, Kt. , C. J. -
(1.)WE have before us three revisional applications, each being in respect of the conviction of the accused for carrying a knife in a public place contrary to a notification made by the Commissioner of Police under Sub-section 23 (2) of the Bombay City Police Act, 1902, which has been extended from time to time, the relevant extension being by order dated September 30, 1946.
(2.)IN Revision Application No.582, the accused Abdul Latif, who is employed in the weaving department of the Swadeshi Mills, was found in possession of a knife, which it is alleged he uses in the course of his employment, about 40 yards, from the gates of the Mill at 3-30 in the afternoon of October: 9.He was brought before Mr. Muranjan, Presidency Magistrate, 10th Court, Andheri, and sentenced to four months' rigorous imprisonment.
In Revision Application No.583 accused, Samandarkhan Firdomkhan, who is a farmer and grows vegetables, was found in possession of a knife alleged by him to be used in connection with his business, when he was stopped with his brother in a motor car about two miles from his home at 11-30 a. m. in the morning of October 17. He was taken before Mr. J. M. Barot, Presidency Magistrate, Second Court, Bombay, and sentenced to six months' rigorous imprisonment.
In Revision Application No.599 the accused Mangal Nanoo, who is a cowherd and over 60 yeans of age, was found in possession of a knife some time after he had arrived at Andheri Station by train with about 15 buffaloes which having detrained he was escorting to their destination. He was arrested at 2-15 p. m. on October 23 and taken before Mr. Muranjan who sentenced him to four months' rigorous imprisonment.
(3.)SUB-section 23 (2) of the Bombay City Police Act, 1902, as amended by the City of Bombay Police (Amendment) Act, 1942, provides: The Commissioner of Police may also, whenever and for such time as he shall consider necessary for the preservation of the public peace or public safety by a notification publicly promulgated or addressed to individuals, prohibit (a) the carrying in any public place of: (i) swords, spears, bludgeons, guns, knives, sticks, or lathis, or (ii) any other weapon which is capable of being used as a weapon of offence. (b) the carrying, collection and preparation of stones or other missiles or instruments or means of casting or impelling missiles. "
The 1942 Amending Act substantially enlarged the scope of Sub-section 23 (2), since formerly the words which followed the specified weapons, were, "or any other offensive weapon", which words, as the English cases show, (see for example Johnson's case (1822) Russ. & Ry. 492 and Hex v. Palmer (1831) 1 M. & R. 70,) give rise to a consideration of the circumstances in which articles such as a stick and a crutch, which are not intrinsically offensive weapons, can be held to be such. But on a construction of Sub-section 23 (2) as amended, it is now apparent that it is the intention of the Legislature that all the specified articles including knives, are to be regarded as weapons, "capable of being used as a weapon of offence", and it is in our opinion clear, that anything which is normally designated as a knife, the condition of which renders it capable of being used as a weapon of offence, falls within the class of objects which may be prohibited.