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Vishvamohan Raghuviraprasad Tiwari Vs. Mahadu Chaudhari - Court Judgment

LegalCrystal Citation
SubjectCriminal
CourtMumbai High Court
Decided On
Case NumberCriminal Revn. Appln. No. 313 of 1963
Judge
Reported inAIR1964Bom191; (1964)66BOMLR28; 1964CriLJ272; 1964MhLJ227
ActsCode of Criminal Procedure (CrPC) , 1898 - Sections 197, 197(1), 200, 201, 202, 203 and 436; Bombay District Municipal Act, 1901 - Sections 23(7) and 45; Indian Penal Code (IPC), 1860 - Sections 19, 21, 352, 409, 500, 504, 506 and 506(1); Bombay Primary Education Act, 1923 - Sections 9(1) and 9(2)
AppellantVishvamohan Raghuviraprasad Tiwari
RespondentMahadu Chaudhari
Appellant AdvocateG.M. Joshi, Adv.;V.T. Gambhirwala, Asst. Govt. Pleader
Respondent AdvocateM.V. Sali, Adv.
Excerpt:
.....not necessary before a magistrate can take cognisance of an offence charged against a president or vice-president of a municipality governed by the bombay district municipal act, 1901, as by virtue of section 23(7) of the latter act the state government is not the only authority which can remove such a person from his office.;under section 23(7) of the bombay district municipal act, 1901, the municipality has power to remove its president or vice-president as it thinks fit without assigning any reason for such removal merely by passing a resolution with the majority of three-fourths of its councillors. this power can be exercised by the municipality also in cases of misconduct, neglect of, or incapacity to perform, his duty on the part of its president or vice-president.;in re shirks..........meeting. it was alleged by the complainant that in course of the proceedings at that meeting the vice-president vishvamohan addressed the 'following words to him :'you mahadu, what do you think of yourself? what is your worth and what is your status so that you may talk to others against me like a minor and go against our plans? i will bring down your intoxication and if you have fight in you, i will set it right. jn case you support any action against us, i shall be able to deal with all of you. in case you become aggressive on the support of others, i will deal with you. i warn you that don't utter a single word and don't take any action, otherwise you will suffer for the same.'according to the complainant, the vice-president further addressed him as follows:'what do you think. i.....
Judgment:
ORDER

1. One Vishvamohan Raghvirprasad, who was the Vive-President of the District Municipality at Dharangaon, Taluka Erandol, occupied the chair at a meeting of the General Board or the Municipality held on 23rd August 1961 since the President had not arrived at the meeting in time. The complainant Mahadu. Chaudhari was one of the councillors and he was present at that meeting. It was alleged by the complainant that in course of the proceedings at that meeting the Vice-President Vishvamohan addressed the 'following words to him :

'You Mahadu, what do you think of yourself? What is your worth and what is your status so that you may talk to others against me like a minor and go against our plans? I will bring down your intoxication and if you have fight in you, I will set it right. Jn case you support any action against us, I shall be able to deal with all of you. In case you become aggressive on the support of others, I will deal with you. I warn you that don't utter a single word and don't take any action, otherwise you will suffer for the same.'

According to the complainant, the Vice-president further addressed him as follows:

'What do you think. I shall deal with each one of you. Whosoever is so mean, cannot be ignored. I shall have to change my attitude and deal with them. I am able to do so and I shall settle the matter with each one of them.'

It was further alleged by the complainant that the Vice-President also used the word 'Nalayak'. The complainant then moved the Collector in connection, with the abuses the Vice-President had given to him at the meeting and he also moved the Government requesting them to remove the Vice-President from his Office. The complainant was, however, informed that the matter related to a private dispute and it was open to him to move the appropriate authorities in the matter. This information was alleged to have been given to the complainant by the Collector on I2th July 1962. On 25th August 1962, the complainant filed a complaint in the Court of the Judicial Magistrate, ist Class, Erandol, charging that Vice-president Vishvamohan with offences under Section 352, 504, 506 and 500 of the Indian Penal Code. On receipt of the complaint the learned Magistrate passed the following order :

'keep for argument before issuing process for 1-0-1962.'

On ist September, 1962, the learned Magistrate passed the following order:

'Heard arguments. Issue notice to other side.'

The case was then fixed for arguments on 16th October, 1962, but the arguments were eventually heard on 6th November 1962. On and January, 1963, the learned Magistrate delivered the judgment and gave his findings on two points :

(i) whether the complaint was barred for want of sanction of the State Government required under Section 197 of the Criminal Procedure Code since the accused in his capacity as a Vice-president was a public servant within the-meaning of Section 21 of the Indian Penal Code read with Section 45 of the Bombay District Municipal Act, 1901, and had acted as such at the board meeting on the day in question, and (2) whether there was any prima facie case against the accused. The finding of the learned Magistrate on the first point was in the affirmative and on the second point also in the affirmative in respect of offences under Sections 504 and 506(1) of the Penal Code, In the result, the learned Magistrate dismissed the complaint summarily for want of sanction required under Section 197 of the Criminal Procedure Code. Against this order of the learned Magistrate, the complainant filed a revision application in the Sessions Court at jalgaon. The learned Sessions Judge in his exhaustive judgment held that by virtue of the provisions of Section 23(7) of the Bombay District Municipal Act, the State Government was not the only authority which could remove a President or Vice-president of a District Municipality and that, therefore, no sanction under Section 197 of the Criminal Procedure Code was necessary before the learned Magistrate could take cognisance of the complaint filed by the complainant in his Court. The learned Judge, on the second point decided by the learned Magistrate, however, held that a prima facie case in respect of offences under Sections 504 and 506(i) of the Penal Code was made out by the complainant in his complaint and that, therefore, the learned Magistrate was entitled to proceed with the complaint. The learned Judge also held that the complaint was dismissed by the learned Magistrate under Section 203 of the Criminal Procedure Code and that, therefore, he had jurisdiction to set aside the order of the learned Magistrate and order further enquiry by virtue of the provisions of Section 436 of the Criminal Procedure Code. In this view of the matter, the learned Judge passed the following order :

'The order dated 2nd January 1963 in Criminal case No. 26 of 1962, is hereby set aside, the case is sent back for further inquiry to the learned Magistrate who will issue process against the accused under Sections 504 and 506(1) of the Indian Penal Code in terms of the order passed by him referred to by him and shall inquire into the case thereafter and dispose of the case according to law. The parties are directed to appear before the learned Magistrate on 15th March, 1963'.

It is against this order that the accused Vishvamohan has filed the present revision application in this Court.

2. In support of this application, it was strenuously urged by Mr. Joshi the learned Advocate for the accused, that since the complaint could not be taken cognizance of by the learned Magistrate for want of sanction under Section 197 of the Criminal Procedure Code, as was held by the learned Magistrate, the order dismissing the complaint passed by the learned Magistrate could not possibly lie within the purview of Section 203 of the Criminal Procedure Code. Mr. Joshi urged that a complaint could be dismissed under Section 203 of the Criminal Procedure Code, where a Magistrate could validly take cognizance of a complaint and on going into the truth or falsehood of the complaint, he came to the conclusion that the complainant had failed to make out a prima facie case against the accused. According to Mr. Joshi, in the present case, the very first point that the learned Magistrate had to decide was as to whether he could take cognizance of the complaint filed by the complainant in the absence of a sanction of the State Government as required by Section 197, of the Criminal Procedure Code since admittedly, the accused was a public servant within the meaning of Section 21 of the Indian Penal Code, read with Section 45 of the Bombay District Municipal Act, and until it was decided by the learned Magistrate that no such sanction was necessary, he had no jurisdiction to probe further into the matter and enquire as to whether the complaint of the complainant was true or false. Mr. Joshi urged that if his contention was accepted, no revision application could lie to the sessions Court against the order of the learned Magistrate dismissing the complaint on the ground of want of sanction of the State Government but a revision application could lie only to the High Court under Section 439 of the Criminal Procedure Code and that, therefore, the order passed by the learned Sessions Judge was wholly invalid. Mr. Gambhirwala the learned Assistant Government Pleader for the State, submitted that, strictly speaking, the order of the learned Magistrate dismissing the complaint for want of sanction of the State Government could not be said to have been passed under Section 203 of the Criminal Procedure Code since that section, provided for such dismissal only in cases where in law it was competent for the Magistrate to take cognizance of the complaint and on inquiry he found that the complaint was false, or that the complainant had failed to make out a prima facie case against the accused. Mr. Gambhirwala, however, urged that although no revision application could lie to the Sessions Court against the order of dismissal of the complaint in the present case, since the matter had been brought to the notice of this Court by a revision application filed by the accused himself, this Court might as well ignore the proceedings before the learned Sessions Judge and correct the order passed by the learned Magistrate, if thought fit. In my opinion, looking to the terms of Section 197 of the Criminal Procedure Code, the learned Magistrate had first to decide the question as to whether the complaint presented to him by the complainant could be entertained for want of sanction from the State Government, and for the decision of that question, it was certainly competent for the learned Magistrate to make all possible inquiry, and if on such inquiry, the learned Magistrate was of the view that the sanction of the State Government was necessary before he could take cognizance of the complaint he should have straightway dismissed or returned the complaint without going into the merits of the complaint for the purpose of deciding the truth or falsity thereof. The learned Magistrate, however, seems to have decided the second point with regard to the truth or falsity of the complaint probably in the belief that in case the higher Court did not agree with his decision on the question of sanction, it might not be necessary for that Court to remand the complaint to him for taking action under Sections 200 to 202 of the Criminal Procedure Code. From this point of view, probably the action taken by the learned Magistrate may not be said to be wholly illegal, so that in case this Court came to the conclusion that sanction was not necessary in respect of the com-, plaint filed by the complainant before the learned Magistrate, the learned Magistrate should be directed to make a fresh, investigation with regard to the truth or falsehood of the complaint. At any rate, the order dismissing the complaint passed by the learned Magistrate cannot be said to have been made under Section 203 of the Criminal Procedure Code, and therefore, no revision application against that order could lie to the Sessions Court. The learned Sessions Judge in the circumstances, instead of interfering with the order of the learned Magistrate, should have made a Reference to this Court for necessary orders.

3. With regard to the contention of Mr. Joshi, that sanction under Section 197 of the Criminal Procedure Code was necessary before the learned Magistrate could take cognizance of the complaint of the complainant, it seems to me that the section has no application in view of the provisions of Section 23 (7) of the Bombay District Municipal Act. Before dealing with Sub-section (7) of Section 23, however, it is necessary to reproduce Section 197(1) of the Criminal Procedure Code at this stage :

'197(1) When any person who is a Judge within the meaning of Section 19 of the Indian Penal Code, or when any Magistrate or when any public, servant who is not removable from his office save by or with the sanction of a State Government or the Central Government is accused ol any offence alleged to have been committed by him while acting or purporting to act in the discharge of his official duty, no Court shall take cognizance of such offence except with the previous sanction.

(a) .....

(b) In the case of a person employed in connection with the affairs of a State, of the State Government.'

It is clear from this Sub-section that where an accused person, a public servant within the meaning of Section 21 of the Indian Penal Code, and being in the employment of a State Government or the Central Government, is liable to be removed from his office only by and with the sanction of such Government, no Court shall take cognizance of any offence charged against him except with the previous sanction of such Government. Thus, be-fore any sanction under this section could be required it is necessary that the public servant should be removable from his office only by or with the sanction of Government, Central or State, in whose employment he may be. If by virtue of the provisions of any Act such a person is also liable to be removed by any other authority, it cannot possibly be said that sanction under Section 197 would be necessary before such person could be prosecuted for any offence committed by him in the discharge of his public duties. Bearing this principle in mind, I will deal with the provisions of Sub-section (7) of Section 23 of the Bombay District Municipal Act. That Sub-section is as follows :

'The term of office of every president and of every vice-president shall cease on the expiry of his term of office as councillor. Every president who is elected by the municipality and every vice-president shall be removable from his office as such president or vice-president by the municipality by a resolution passed to that effect, provided that three fourths of the whole number of the councilors of the municipality vote in favour of such resolution and provided further that before such resolution is passed the president or vice-president is given a reasonable opportunity of showing cause why such a resolution should not be passed. Every president and every vice-president shall be removable from his office as such president or vice-president by the State Government for misconduct, 01 neglect of, or incapacity to perform, his duty and a president or vice-president so removed shall not be eligible for re-election during remainder of the term oi office of the Municipality.'

The term of this Sub-section, it will appear, provide for the removal inter alia of a vice-president by two different authorities. The municipality itself under the first part of the Sub-section could remove a vice-president from his office by a. resolution passed by three-fourths of the whole number of the councillors of the municipality. It may be noted that the power conferred by this part of the Sub-section upon the municipality is unrestricted in its scope and extent. In other words, the municipality, if it so chooses can remove a president or a vice-president from his office for no apparent reason whatsoever, more so when he is guilty of misconduct or neglect of or incapacity to perform his duty as president or vice-president as the case may be. The power conferred on the State Government by the second part of the Sub-section to remove a president or a vice-president, however, is restricted in its scope and extent. The State Government can remove a president or vice-president of a district municipality only when he is found guilty of misconduct 01 neglect of, or of incapacity to perform his duty as president or vice-president as the case may he. Except for these reasons, the State Government has no authority whatever to remove a president or a vice-president from his office. Considering the terms of this Sub-section, therefore it may well be said that, a vice-president can be removed from his office not only by the municipality but also by the State Government although the latter would be able to remove him only in certain circumstances. Accordingly, in order to take cognizance of the complaint in the present case, the learned Magistrate would not be in need of a sanction of the State Government since the accused is not removable from his office of vice-president 'save by or with the sanction of the State Government 'but is also removable by the municipality as and when it pleases.

4. A reference in this connection may be made to a decision of this Court in S. S. Shirke v. Em-peror 33 BLH 1177: AIR 1931 Bom 527. In this case the question was as to whether the accused who was an administrative officer of a school board appointed under section 9(1) of the Bombay Primary Education Act, 1923 could be prosecuted under Section 409 of the Indian Penal Code without the sanction of the Government under Section 107 of the Criminal Procedure Code. The learned Magistrate was of the view that sanction of the-Government was necessary for prosecuting the accused. The High Court in revision came to different conclusion on the interpretation of the provisions of section 9(2) of the Bombay Primary Education Act. That section provide that the school board administrative officer shall not, save with the previous sanction o the Government, be removable from office, reduced or suspended, unless by the votes of at least two-thirds of the whole number of councillors. The High Court interpreted the Sub-section to mean that the administrative officer could be removed from his office without the previous sanction of the Government when there was a clear majority of two-thirds of its members. The provisions of section 23(7) oi the Bombay District Municipal Act. are very much wider than those of section 9(2) of the Bombay Primary Education Act. Whereas under the former, the State Government can remove a president or a vice-president only on the ground oi misconduct, neglect of or incapacity to perform his duty as president or vice-president, in the latter the power of the Government to remove an administrative officer is pari materia with the power of the councillors. Mr. Joshi however, contended that the Municipality would be competent to remove a president or a vice-president under the power conferred upon it by the first part of Subsection (7) of section 23 only in cases other than those in which the State Government would have power to remove him. In other words, Mr. Joshi contended that the Municipality could not remove the president or vice-president on the ground of misconduct, neglect of, or incapacity to perform his duty as such president or vice-president. Mr. Joshi urged that if that was the true construction, then the State Government could properly be said to be the exclusive authority to remove a president or vice-president on any of the three grounds of misconduct, neglect of or incapacity to perform his official duty as a president or vice-president. J am afraid, this contention cannot be accepted. A9 already observed, on a true construction of Subsection (7) of section 23, the Municipality has power to remove its president or vice-president as it thinks fit without assigning any reason for such removal merely by passing a resolution with the majority of three-fourths of its councillors. This power' can be exercised by the municipality also in cases of misconduct, neglect of or incapacity to perform his duty on the part of its president or vice-president. It cannot, therefore, be said that the State Government is the only authority to remove a president or a vice-president from his office even for reasons of his misconduct, neglect of or incapacity to perform his official duties. In my judgment, therefore, the learned Magistrate was in error in his view that sanction under Section 197 of the Criminal Procedure Code was necessary before he could take cognizance of the offence charged against the accused by the complainant, and, therefore, the order dismissing the complaint shall have to be set aside.

5. With regard to the finding of the learned Magistrate that there was a prima facie case on the complaint filed before him in respect of offences under sections 504 and 506(i) of the Penal Code, I do not think it is necessary to direct the learned Magistrate to reconsider the point again. It appears that the advocate for the accused was present at the time the point of sanction as well as the merits of the complaint was discussed before the learned Magistrate besides, under the provisions of section 202 of the Criminal Procedure Code, it was entirely for the learned Magistrate to satisfy himself on such inquiry as he might think lit as to the truth or falsehood of the complaint. After careful consideration of the allegations in the complaint, and the arguments advanced by the advocates of both the parties the learned Magistrate came to the conclusion that a prima facie case in respect of offences under section 504 and 506(1) of the Penal Code was made out against the accused on the allegations made in the complaint, and therefore, I do not think it is necessary for me to give any directions with regard to the charges in respect of which process should be issued by the learned Magistrate against the accused.

6. In the result, the application, filed by theaccused against the order of the learned SessionsJudge shall be dismissed and the rule shall be discharged. The order of the learned Magistrate dismissing the complaint, however shall be set asideand the learned Magistrate shall proceed with thecomplaint tinder Section 204 of the Criminal ProcedureCode and dispose of the case after due inquiry according to law.

7. Order accordingly.


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