1. This is an application to set aside an order purporting to be passed by a Full Court of the Small Causes Court, consisting of the Chief Judge and the Second Judge, revoking a sanction granted by the Registrar of the Court of Small Causes to prosecute one Pragji Ramdas for an offence under Section 182 of the Indian Penal Code.
2. It is contended that the Registrar in granting the sanction acted in a judicial capacity, being authorized under Section 35 of the Small Cause Court Act to make any order in respect of the committal and discharge of judgment-debtors which a Judge of the Court might make under the Act, and that the order granting sanction was passed while acting as a Judge, that under the provisions of Section 195, Sub-section (6), of the Criminal Procedure Code a sanction given under that section can only be revoked by any authority to which the authority giving it is subordinate, that under Sub-section (7) of the same section a Court shall be deemed to be subordinate only to the Court to which appeals from the former Court ordinarily lie, and that under Clause (c) of the same sub-section, where no appeal lies, such Court shall be deemed to be subordinate to the principal Court of original jurisdiction within the local limits of whose jurisdiction such first mentioned Court is situate. It was further urged that the Full Court had no appellate jurisdiction fiver the acts of the Registrar puporting to be done under Section 35 of the Small Cause Courts Act and that it had no revisional criminal jurisdiction, that the only Court which could have revoked the sanction was the High Court under Section 195, Sub-Section 7, Clause (c), of the Criminal Procedure Code.
3. Assuming that the order was made by the Registrar in his judicial capacity, it seems to our minds quite clear that the Small Cause Court, whether' presided over by a single Judge or by two Judges, had no jurisdiction to revoke the sanction, having regard to the provisions of Section 195 of the Criminal procedure Code. But it is unnecessary to discuss that question any farther, because we are of opinion that the order granting the sanction must be held to have been passed by the Registrar as a public servant). Section 35, as well as certain other sections of the Small Cause Courts Act, refers to what a judge of the Court may do, but there is no mention throughout the Act of any powers being conferred on a single Judge of the Court. With the exception of certain duties which are specifically imposed on the Chief Judge or his locum tenens, there appears to be no provision regarding the powers which may be exercised by a single Judge, and no rule has been pointed out to us under Section 9 the Act providing for the exercise by one or more of the Judges of any of the powers conferred on the Small Cause Court by the Act, The Act all along speaks of the powers of the Small Cause Court. We hold that the Registrar had authority under Section 195, Sub-Section 1, Clause (a), to grant a sanction for the prosecution of an offence under Section 182, Indian Penal Code, as the public servant concerned. It was also equally competent to the Chief Judge, to whom the Registrar is by law subordinate, acting as a public servant, to revoke the sanction.
4. The difficulty in the case has arisen from the confusion which apparently existed in the mind of the Chief Judge as to the capacity in which he was by law empowered to act, and he was in error in treating the matter as one for decision of the Small Cause Court, as he appears throughout to have done, both in the proceedings, in his letter (No. 72 of 9th September, 1902) to the Registrar of the Court, and his subsequent statement of the case dated 19th September, 1902. We notice that in the final paragraph of that statement he observes: 'The Registrar has never, during the twenty years since his office was created, granted a sanction to prosecute, and I have now issued an order to him that he should not do so again.' It would be a well if the legality of such an order were reconsidered.
5. We are of opinion that the Small Cause Court had no power to revoke the sanction, and that the Full Court had no jurisdiction to do BO, but that such power is vested in the Chief Judge to whom as a public servant the Registrar is subordinate. We therefore set aside the order, and return the case to the Chief Judge for passing such order as may seem to him proper in the circumstances of the case.