R.S. Bindra, J.C.
1. This revision petition filed by the complainant Ch. Ibomacha Singh is directed against the order dated 4th of September 1967 by which Shri C. Upendra Singh, Magistrate First Class, Manipur, discharged the accused O. Tombi Singh. The prayer made is for the reversal of that order and for remand of the case to the trial Court for proceeding with it in accordance with the provisions of law.
2. In the complaint lodged by C. Ibomacha Singh it was alleged that he had purchased the land in dispute per registered sale deed dated 31-1-1961 from its owner Yumnam Ibohal Singh and that the latter had delivered the possession to him on the same day. The land was then made over by the complainant to O. Achou Singh for cultivation as tenant and the latter continued to cultivate it until the year 1966. Thereafter, the complainant engaged Ch. Ibotombi Singh as the tenant for cultivation of the land and this Ibotombi Singh after ploughing the land sowed paddy seeds therein on 23-6-1967. However, on the morning of 24-6-1967, when Ibotombi Singh was working on the land, the accused O. Tombi Singh entered upon the land and over-ploughed the same forcibly. Ch. Ibotombi Singh protested against the high-handedness committed by the accused, but the accused scared him into silence by brandishing a dao and threatening to behead him therewith. The owner Ibomacha Singh lodged a complaint against Tombi Singh on 28-6-1967 under sections 426, 447 and 506 I. P. C. After recording the preliminary evidence, the Court summoned the accused under those three sections of the Indian Penal Code. The accused defended himself and the Court ultimately discharged him on the finding that the complainant had failed to establish a prima facie case. Having felt aggrieved with that order of discharge, the complainant has come up in revision to this Court.
3. Before proceeding to examine the points canvassed before me by the complainant's counsel Shri Bhattacharjee, I may mention that the defence set up by the accused was that he had purchased the land by a registered sale deed dated 7-3-1967 from the owner Y. Ibohal Singh, that on that very day he was placed into possession of the land by the vendor himself, and that since then he had been in continuous occupation of the land. He denied that the complainant was the owner of the land, or that he had ever leased it out to O. Achou Singh, or that he had subsequently leased it to Ch. Ibotombi Singh, or that he (accused) had either committed criminal trespass on the land, or committed any mischief by over-ploughing the field, or that he had threatened Ch. Ibotombi Singh on 24-64967.
4. Shri T. Bhubon Singh, representing the accused, raised the preliminary point that the complainant had gone wrong in filing the revision petition directly in this Court instead of first approaching the Court of the Sessions Judge. He, therefore, urged that the revision petition should be thrown out on that score alone, Shri Bhattacharjee the counsel for the complainant, submitted, on the other hand, that this Court has concurrent jurisdiction with the Sessions Judge to entertain revision petitions and as such the objection raised by Shri Bhubon Singh is without any merit. Shri Bhattacharjee also emphasised that the revision petition having been admitted by my learned predecessor it would be unjust to reject it more then 20 months after its admission on the sole ground that as a matter of practice the revision should have first been instituted in the Court of Sessions Judge.
The views of the various High Courts in India on the point at issue are not unanimous though there appears to be consensus that in fairness to the High Court the revision petition should be filed in the Court of Sessions Judge in the first instance that practice has two distinct advantages. Firstly, the time of the High Court being more precious it is only reasonable that the case should be disposed of by a subordinate Court where it has jurisdiction in the matter and thereby lessen the pressure of work on the High Court. Secondly, the High Court will have the benefit of the opinion of the Sessions Judge if the matter eventually comes before it after having been dealt with by the Sessions Judge. Therefore, it is highly desirable that the aggrieved party should first file the revision petition in the Court of Sessions Judge and not come directly to the High Court. I hope this salutary practice shall be adopted in this territory by the litigants and the bar members alike. I make it clear that in future I would be most reluctant to admit the revision petition directly in this Court, unless, of course, there are special reasons for departing from the practice mentioned.
5. In the present case, however, I have decided not to throw out the revision petition on the basis of objection raised by Shri Bubo Singh, The reasons that have weighed with me in adopting that course are that the revision petition had been admitted by my learned predecessor and so it would be improper for me to interfere with the discretion exercised by him, that the revision petition has been pending in this Court for more then 20 months now and so if it were presented in the Court of Sessions Judge it shall be rejected summarily as barred by limitation, and that I have already heard full arguments respecting the merits of the petition and so it would be only fair that I should dispose of it on merits rather then throw it out on the technical objection raised, by the respondent's counsel. The course that I have adopted is not very unusual. There is abundant authority for the proposition that once a revision petition has been admitted it should be disposed of on merits.
6. Now coming to the merits of the case. The trial Court refused to attach importance to the documents Exts. P/l and P/3 placed on the record by the complainant to prove the facts that he had after purchase of the land leased the same to Achou Singh and that subsequently ' Achou Singh was proceeded against by him for recovery of the arrears of rent. In the view of the trial Court these two documents had no relevancy to the charges because the accused was not a party to either of the two documents. I think the trial Court was clearly in error in holding the two documents as irrelevant. Section 13 of the Indian Evidence Act enacts that where the question is as to the existence of any right or custom, the following facts are relevant:
(a) any transaction by which the right or custom in question was created, claimed, modified, recognized, asserted or denied, or which was inconsistent with its existence:
(b) particular instances in which the right or custom was claimed, recognized or exercised, or in which its exercise was disputed, asserted or departed from.
That in face of this statutory provision the documents Exts. P/l and P/3 are admissible for proving the charges formulated against the respondent can admit of no doubt. I may point out that Ext. P/3 is the rent note which Achou Singh had executed in favour of the complainant Ibomacha Singh, while Ext. P/l is the copy of the iudgment given by Nyaya Panchayat of Imphal West in the case filed by the complainant against Achou Singh for recovery of the arrears of rent respecting the land in dispute. By executing the document Ext. P/3 Achou Singh had admitted the right of the complainant to lease out the land in dispute, and per Ext. P/l the Panchayat had recognized that the complainant was the landlord of Achou Singh respecting that land. Therefore I fail to see how the trial Court ignored these two valuable pieces of evidence which lent corroboration to the assertion of the complainant that he had leased out the land in dispute on 17-3-1963 and had been in possession of it for a long time before the date of occurrence out of which the present case has arisen.
7. The trial Court pressed into service the provisions of Sections 119 and 126 of the Manipur Land Revenue and Land Reforms Act, 1960, hereinafter referred to as the Act, in support of the view that the complainant could not have entered into possession of the land in dispute after his tenant Achou Singh had vacated the same. Section 119 provides, in substance, that a tenant cannot be evicted from the land held by him except under the order of competent authority made on some one of the grounds mentioned therein. Sub-section (1) of Section 126 enacts that after the commencement of the Act no tenant shall surrender any land held by him as such, and no land owner shall enter upon the land surrendered by the tenant, without the previous permission in writing of the competent authority. According to the opinion of the trial Court, it was not legally open to the complainant to enter upon the land after Achou Singh had relinquished possession over it, and that in consequence his possession over the land through the tenant Ch. Ibotombi Singh on 23rd or 24th of June 1967 cannot be countenanced in law. Here, too, it is not possible to agree with the trial Court.
It is not inconceivable that after the tenant surrenders the possession voluntarily the landlord occupies the land despite the knowledge that the provisions of Sub-section (1) of Section 126 of the
Act interdict such a step. His entry into possession of the land in such circumstances would at the best prompt the Government into adopting measures to evict him for the purpose of securing the ends mentioned in Sub-section (3) of Section 126. However, the physical act of his possession over the land cannot be ignored either by the Court or by anybody else. Sub-section (2) of Section 126 provides that permission to the landlord to occupy the land as contemplated by Sub-section (1) shall not be given unless the conditions stated in Sub-section (2) are satisfied, and Sub-section (3) enacts that where permission is refused and the tenant gives a declaration in writing relinquishing his rights in the land, the competent authority shall, in accordance with the rules made in this behalf, lease out the land to some other person who shall acquire all the rights of the tenant who relinquished his rights.
All these eventualities arise only if the matter comes to the notice of the competent authorities. However, it is not difficult to visualise a case where the tenant surrenders possession to the landlord and the competent authorities mentioned in Section 126 either do not come to know of that development or fail to take steps mentioned in Sub-section (3) of Section 126. In that context, the trial Court was not justified in concluding that in the face of Section 126 of the Act the complainant could not have entered into possession of the land after Achou Singh had abandoned his tenancy or that such possession of the landlord cannot be availed of for the purposes of either Section 426 or Section 447 of Indian Penal Code.
8. While discussing the facts relevant to the charge under Section 506 I. P. C, the trial Court held on the authority of : AIR1965Pat509 , Ishari Ram y. Ganga Bhagat that it is the dominant intention of the accused in entering upon possession of the land which would be decisive in determining whether the offence under Section 506, I. P. C. had been made out. This view of the Court is manifestly erroneous. The intention which weighs with the accused in entering upon the land in possession of another has no relevancy to the charge under Section 506 I. P. C. In the Patna case, one of the charges levelled against the accused was under Section 448 I. P. C. and it is in connection with that charge that the question of dominant intention was brought, into discussion. Therefore, the trial Court was wholly unjustified in discharging the accused for the offence under Section 506 I. P. C. on the score that his dominant intention in entering upon the land was that in his capacity as its owner he had the right to do so.
9. A perusal of the judgment under revision gives the impression that in the opinion of the trial Court the complainant had not examined any independent witness in proof of various charges formulated against the accused. However, the court was unable to point out what interest P. W. 2 Bira Singh had in the complainant or what grudge he bore to the accused. This witness, it is proved, has a paddy field close to the land in dispute. Therefore, he was a natural witness of the occurrence.
10. I restrain myself from examining in detail the evidence led by the complainant with a view to assess its value, It is lor the reason that any expression of opinion made by this Court is bound to influence the mind of the trial Court, However, I have no misgiving in my mind that the trial Court was wrong in discharging the accused at the stage at which he did. The Court was clearly wrong, as shown above, in refusing to attach any value to the documents Exts. P/l and P/3, in utilising the provisions of Section 126 of the Act to support the finding that the complainant could not have entered into possession of the land in June 1967, in discharging the accused of the offence under Section 506 I. P. C. on the ground that the dominant intention which actuated the accused in entering upon the land was his title thereto on the basis of sale deed dated 7-3-1967, and in holding that none of the witnesses examined by the complainant was independent.
I may point out that after Y. Ibohal Singh had sold the land to the complainant per registered deed dated 31-1-1961 he could not have executed another sale deed respecting the same land in favour of the accused on 7-3-1967. Shri Bhattacharjee, the counsel for the complainant, may not therefore be wrong in contending that the sale deed dated 7-34967 had been prepared mischievously to arm the accused with a weapon with which to dispossess the complainant from the land in dispute.
11. For the reasons stated above, I allow the revision petition and on quashing the discharge order remand the case to the trial Court with the direction that it should proceed with it further in accordance with the provisions of law.